MORE than a thousand non-organic and non-contractual workers, more popularly known as “haoshiaos,” of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will join the rank of millions of unemployed Filipinos effective today.
Their termination from their informal jobs is in compliance with a memorandum order earlier issued by Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon prohibiting all Customs offices nationwide from using non-organic and non-contractual personnel.
Biazon issued the memorandum on May 21. It was supposed to take effect on June 1 but it fell on a Saturday, a non-working day.
The said memorandum refers to a “haoshiao” as any person purporting to be a customs employee and performing functions of customs personnel whether or not under the direction or with the permission from BOC officials or employees.
It was addressed to all deputy commissioners, service directors, district collectors, sub-port collectors and division chiefs.
“In order to uphold the integrity in the service and pursuant to CMO-25-2010, ‘BOC Code of Conduct,’ you are hereby directed not to utilize or engage the services of persons or group of persons whoa re not organic personnel or have no existing contract of service with the Bureau to perform his functions and responsibilities or the functions and the responsibilities of any Bureau staff, This prohibition includes the use of ‘haoshiao,’” the memorandum stated.
Biazon also warned that non-compliance with the memorandum shall be a ground for administrative sanctions under the BOC Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees.
He also instructed the directors of the Enforcement and Security Services and administration office to come up with measures to effectively monitor the memorandum’s implementation within 15 days from its effectivity.
The BOC has more than 5,000 regular employees nationwide and several hundreds of contractual workers.
It is estimated that there are almost 2,000 haoshiaos in various customs offices nationwide. Majority of them work in major ports like the Port of Manila and Manila International Container Port, the two flagship ports of the BOC.
The official or the Customs office where they are serving shoulders their salaries.
They serve as personal secretaries and assistants, janitors, messengers, or cooks but many of them are also entrusted with sensitive jobs that only regular employees are supposed to handle like data encoding and monitoring, among others.
Veteran Customs officials say that haoshiaos have been an integral part of the bureau since time immemorial.
“The use of haoshiao is an old practice, maybe much older than Commissioner Biazon,” one official told The Manila Times.