• Ex-BOC chief offers tips to end ‘graft’ at agency

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    A former chief of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has proposed a two-pronged approach to solve allegedly rampant corruption at the agency that costs the government some P200 to P500 billion in lost revenues every year.

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    In his advocacy paper, former Customs commissioner Titus Villanueva pushed for accreditation of legitimate importers and conduct of a pre-shipment inspection on limited scale covering only imports of unaccredited importers.

    In the same paper, a copy of which was obtained by The Manila Times, he proposed as well the creation of a Risk Management Unit under the Office of the President to implement the measures.

    “The pre-shipment inspection and the accreditation process could be implemented altogether as a two-pronged anti-graft scheme by the Bureau of Customs and could do so even without the need for legislation. Only a strong political will to weed out graft and corruption in the agency is needed,” Villanueva said on Sunday.

    Under the scheme, the non-accredited importers could apply for accreditation overtime provided they have not been found guilty of any irregularities or wrongdoing in doing business in the Philippines, most particularly in their import business.

    The former Customs chief explained that with the conduct of a pre-shipment inspection from the ports of origin, the import entries would be certified correct by the PSI agent and the cargoes need not be inspected upon reaching Philippine shores.

    “In that way, all cargoes are released without delay and the correct import duties and taxes will be collected by the government,” he said.

    If, however, BoC decides not to implement the PSI, then the bureau’s personnel concentration would be on the 20 percent of Philippine imports imported by the unaccredited importers.

    Villanueva pointed out that his proposal is different from the Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) implemented before by BOC, which covers all Philippine imports.

    He said imports of the unaccredited importers with no track record or those who have previous Customs violations cover 20 percent of total imports and the remaining 80 percent are accounted for by the accredited legitimate importers.

    For the 20 percent imports that will undergo PSI, import entries will be certified correct by the PSI inspector, and the cargoes are also released immediately to the importers without delay.

    Villanueva’s advocacy also calls for a green lane pass for legitimate importers, whose accreditations will be based on their track record of honesty, integrity and above-board business practices. Their imports pass through the Green Lane Corridor, which means their imports are delivered directly to their warehouses without passing Customs, decongesting the piers by 80 percent.

    The BoC reserves the right though to conduct random checks on the imports of legitimate importers. If during the random checks, irregularities were discovered, the accreditation of the erring importers would be revoked and their imports would have to pass the regular Customs procedures.

    Under the PSI, releases of shipments would be done by pre-shipment inspectors in the country of origin.

    WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

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    4 Comments

    1. leonardo o. odono on

      Privatizing the customs service is the way to go. A private corporation awarded, say, a five-year renewable contract with specific performance goals, such as collection targets, as basis for continuation or termination of contract, will not tolerate smuggling as below-target revenue generation will jeopardize the company’s tenure as customs service provider. As a private corporation, it can fire erring officials and employees without having to be shackled by civil service regulations which make managers in government agencies fearsome of being subjects of employee complaints for even warranted disciplinary actions and dismissals for grave misconduct. It can reward performance with promotion and salary increases and bonuses to motive its employees to perform efficiently, without having to be constrained by salary scales imposed by the salary standardization law. Most important, a private corporation will hire only professional managers and qualified employees unlike in government agencies where patronage is the name of the game in hiring employees and appointing agency heads most of whom are not qualified.. A privatized customs service is what we need to make the service more responsive to public interest.

    2. jethernandez@gmail.com on

      pre-shipment inspection ay tinanggal na sa ibang bansa kasi ineffective ito. ang dapat gawin nating commissioner emilio na nag comment para malinis nya ang BOC.

    3. let us hear from the wannabe presidentiables what they plan to do w/ boc. either a no-nonsense reform or abolish it altogether. problem is how will these wannabes repay their financiers if boc fades away. maybe through masiao or jueteng. i prefer these two vices over smuggling w/c sobotages our economy wholesale!

    4. lol. up to this day they cannot solve this problem with BOC. they are either bobo or born thieves. why not just abolish the BOC and let a private contractors run the duties and work of customs and let this contractors sell their catch and confiscated items to let them as incentive. then refer the violators to the law enforcement or DOJ for prosecution unless the DOJ is corrupt too.