NICK Faeldon is the new commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC). He must have earned the trust of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte for him to land what is perceived be the most coveted job in government. To maintain the president’s confidence in him, he should prove himself equal to the difficult task of totally eradicating what most Filipinos associate with the BOC as rampant corruption.
Reducing corruption should have been enough an accomplishment for a new BOC chief. But the way the newly elected president issued his “marching order” to rid government of corruption, he was leaving no room for failures. Thus, President Duterte is the main reason for the use of “totally eradicating,” which is the more appropriate word at the moment.
If you search BOC by “Google,” which is today’s faster way of finding information, you will learn so many things about it. Try “customs corruption” and you will find a long list of topics defining the two words that you will never run out of research materials for a college thesis and, who knows, even for post-graduate course.
A marine as BOC head
Going back to Faeldon, will he really be able to resist the “color of money?” He knows he will be closely watched for every move and pronouncement that he makes from the time he takes over BOC on June 30.
How long Faledon will last as customs chief remains a guessing game. But as long as he has the backing of President Duterte, he should be able to make THE difference among BOC insiders.
Faeldon is a captain in the Philippine Marines. He is more popularly known by his nickname “Nick,” which is short for Nicanor. As customs commissioner, he will surely face many challenges ahead, most of them dealing with corruption.
It may be much too early to judge Faeldon by what he plans to do at the customs bureau. Yes, he shows aggressiveness, an attitude that will be measured by his accomplishments. He has to contend with a lot of stumbling blocks to his efforts that would elicit the military man in him.
If the Duterte-led government would continue the imposition of previous national leaderships, it would set a yearly collection target for Faeldon. This is not good for the bureau. Why such-and-such amounts to collect in a given year when the job of customs collectors is not to enrich themselves? Their duty is to collect for the public coffers ALL the collectibles. Period.
Will Faeldon’s performance as BOC chief be also measured by his leadership’s ability to meet the target? If this would be the gauge of his performance, he would have so much time to enjoy himself when he would have collected enough to meet the collections.
The question is, what Faeldon would do the rest of the year if, say, he were able to collect the amount required of him in only six months? He should know that idling itself is a form of corruption.
A corruption story
Here is a story why corruption in government still persists. This may be fiction but nevertheless it tells about bribery in government service and the official toleration of it even by the president.
Luckily for most Filipinos, President Duterte has been announcing his appointments, which is via a press conference, meaning in public, while waiting for his oath-taking on June 30. On the other hand, the new president in the following story did the “division of the loot” by meeting with potential appointees.
In one of these meetings, an applicant for customs commissioner felt disappointed when he did not get the appointment. Instead, he got a different agency to head, which he had wanted to reject.
Then he got the parting but encouraging words from the president that made him accept the appointment.
“Don’t worry,” the president told this particular appointee. “That’s also lucrative.” “That” refers to the agency he was to head.
If the story is true, lucrative was a bad word, which luckily for Filipinos, President Duterte did not apply in choosing the members of his cabinet.
Finally, Duediligencer has one wish for Faeldon: May he succeed in cleansing the customs bureau of undesirables from top to bottom including security guards.