‘Values’ to counter corruption at Customs

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THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) will train a new breed of employees in the proposed Philippine Customs Academy (PCA) to help address rampant corruption there and restore the people’s respect for and confidence in the agency.

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“We want the new hires to go through an academy. We are creating an academy that will train, impart skills and knowledge and more important on character development and value formation. Hopefully, we will be able to start the academy before the end of the year. It’s for implementation,” Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña told a news briefing on Wednesday.

Lapeña said the training would start from the hiring of almost 3,000 new employees who will fill up vacant plantilla positions in the bureau.

The recruits, he added, will first undergo a three-month training program at the PCA before they can be granted permanent status.

Lapeña said employees who undergo training at the academy would be granted provisionary status and would only be permanently hired after graduation.

“Those who finished the training shall be guaranteed plantilla positions, and they are expected to develop a deeper sense of patriotism, excellence, integrity and leadership,” he added.

The establishment of the PCA was introduced by retired Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.

A budget has already been allocated for the purpose and the plan is ready for implementation.

The PCA’s curriculum will include 50 percent character building and 25 percent each for capacity and capability development.

The BoC is the only Customs administration worldwide without an established training institution.

Lapeña said organic personnel of the bureau at present would also undergo a re-training program on Customs procedures and proper assessment, among others.

Last week, he signed the promotion of 587 BoC personnel to the next higher rank, resulting in vacancies that also need to be filled up.

According to Lapeña, he would sign a second wave of promotions soon, thus the need for the immediate hiring of the 3,000 employees.

“So if we have [a]sufficient [number of]people and do things right and correct service to the public, the practice of bribery and corruption can be stopped,” he said.

Lapeña added that there are still a lot of good men in the bureau and they all want the BoC to be reformed.

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