House seeks to scrutinize new Customs officials

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The House Committee on Ways and Means seeks to scrutinize the qualifications of the newly-appointed Bureau of Customs officials to determine whether they can effectively head the graft-ridden agency.

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Committee Chair and Marikina 1st District Rep. Romero Quimbo said that the House panel wanted to justify their appointments, a move in light of the recent revamp on the controversial agency.

“I don’t think there is any reason for anyone to hesitate. Please submit to us your respective resumes, I’m sure these will more than justify the appointments,” said Quimbo.

Committee Vice Chair and Davao 2nd District Thelma Almario said that it would be good to know to gauge the knowledge of the officials, especially that each have different length of stay in the agency.

“As we went along, some of you said they’ve been at the BOC for only six weeks, while the others were not there years ago, and just took the job this year or last year, or what not. So it’s better for us to have the resume of all of you so that we will know the experiences that you have really suit the jobs assigned to you,” Almario said.

Meanwhile, Quimbo prodded Deputy Commissioner for intelligence and enforcement Jessie Dellosa, a former Armed Forces chief of staff, if there is indeed “militarization” at the BOC.

“Are there other military or former military officers there because we read in the papers recently there are a number of military personnel or former who are now in the bureau. What is the framework or direction of the Department of Finance (DOF) when it comes to that?” Quimbo asked.

It seen by critics that the government was militarizing the BOC with the appointment of eight retired military and police generals at the bureau.

However, Dellosa said that the move was not militarization but a strengthening of the BOC. He said that the retired military and police officers have the skills to eradicate corruption at the bureau.

“Since we are fighting smugglers…smuggling, we need generals to fight these smugglers. And also these generals have managerial skills and leadership skills, yun po ang kailangan,” said Dellosa.

 Jhoanna Ballaran

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