Commissioner Alberto Lina of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Monday said “paperless transactions” would help the agency achieve its twin objectives of curbing inefficiency and combating corruption.
Such transactions, he added, would eliminate human intervention, the root cause of corruption.
Lina issued Customs Memorandum Order 29-2015 to eliminate unnecessary use of paper and expensive forms.
The plan includes electronic exchange of information with other government agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Philippine Statistics Office, the National Economic and Development Authority and the Tariff Commission.
“Eliminating red tape and all the ills that go with it is an important step in improving the overall performance of Customs and in restoring the public’s confidence in the bureau,” Lina said.
Tapped to implement the order, Deputy Commissioner Agaton Uvero explained that important components of the “paperless transactions” include discontinuance of the Import Entry and Internal Revenue Declaration (IEIRD) form and the Supplemental Declaration on Valuation (SDV) and the acceptance of printouts of the electronic Airway Bill (e-AWB).
“Our aim is to reduce documentation and paper costs by as much as 70 p;ercent. We will achieve this by doing away with expensive carbonized forms and costly air way bill forms.
We will also lessen the number of documents required from seven sets to two sets,” Uvero said.
Said reduction, according to him, would cover around 50,000 transactions a month.
Uvero said the scheme was one of the several reform measures that would be implemented in the coming weeks and months.
Earlier, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jessie Dellosa said “positions for sale,” not smuggling, are the “root cause” of widespread corruption in the BOC.
Dellosa was referring to some Customs officials who were either endorsed by influential figures or paid a handsome price in exchange for an appointment or promotion to a lucrative position.
Dellosa’s chief of staff, Maj. Jovily Cabading, explained that such practice leads to rampant corruption as Customs officials who owe a debt of gratitude to somebody or paid their way to get their positions have to make a lot of money in order to recover what they spent for and comply with their monetary agreement with their “godfather.”
“It belittles now the merit system, which supposedly should be the basis for promotion of the rank and file of the Customs bureau,” Cabading told The Manila Times.