• Customs gears for major revamp

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    NEWLY appointed Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina is implementing soonest a bureau-wide revamp that will affect top key officials down to the more than 3,000 rank-and-file for better facilitation of trade and strengthening of existing policies.

    “Everybody serves at the pleasure of the President or the appointing authority,” Lina said over the weekend even as he stressed that the revamp would be implemented after careful evaluation and assessment of the performance of a particular official or personnel.

    “Everything here would be fair. It would not be abrupt or at the whims and caprices [of the appointing authority],” he added.

    Except for presidential appointees, the commissioner of Customs has the authority to reassign port collectors and other officials upon approval by the Finance department.

    A highly reliable source has told The Manila Times that Malacanang has granted Lina “full authority” to assign and reassign Customs officials, including presidential appointees, without the approval of the Finance secretary.

    “His hands will always be tied without said authority,” the source said.
    But even as Lina has confirmed that a revamp is coming, he has not mentioned anything about presidential appointees.

    Among the presidential appointees in Customs are the six deputy commissioners, namely: Jessie Dellosa, Intelligence Group; Primo Aguas, Management and Information System and Technology Group; Myrna Chua, Internal Administration Group; Maria Editha Tan, Revenue Collection and Monitoring Group; Ariel Nepomuceno, Enforcement Group; and Agaton Uvero, Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group.

    Talks are ripe that Dellosa, a former Armed Forces chief, is reportedly on his way out and is expected to submit his resignation anytime soon.

    But it was denied by the former military chief, saying that quitting his post at this time is not an option because much is still to be done and that initial success must be nurtured and sustained.

    Dellosa said he would remain in his post to carry on the fight against forces that seek to impede reforms in the bureau in order to return the corrupt practices of the past.

    On April 24, a day after he was named Customs chief, Lina ordered the transfer of one of Dellosa’s men,l awyer Reynaldo Peralta, head of the Customs’ investigation division, to the Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO), supposedly a Customs “think tank” but in reality is perceived to be a non-functioning office.

    Dellosa, in an April 30 letter, asked Lina to recall Peralta’s transfer to the CPRO but was denied.

    Lina pointed out that optimum performance of each and every officer and employee will be the hallmark of the Customs bureau.

    “While success could be considered its own reward, meritorious performance will also be recognized and appropriate rewards will be made available to the deserving,” he said.

    According to Lina, internal management audits will be introduced to help guide Customs personnel in the attainment of their key result areas and help identify the problems and provide the solutions to correct mistakes or oversights and how to avoid the same.

    “We must transform the bureau into a pro-active organization. It should anticipate local and global changes and always be ready to confront the challenges that come with it,” Lina said.

    When asked about politicians and other influence peddlers, he replied, “I will handle it as it comes, it is not fair for me to judge now.”

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