BOC Zamboanga seizes smuggled rice and cigarettes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019   •   296

Boxes of smuggled cigarettes intercepted by the BOC along Pangutaran, Sulu and Isabela City, Basilan on August 19, 2019 | Courtesy: BOC Zamboanga

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Zamobanga has seized smuggled rice and cigarettes on Monday (Aug 19) along Pangutaran, Sulu and Isabela City, Basilan, respectively.

Preliminary reports said authorities found various sacks of rice inside ML Nhardzrmar-2 while it was docked in Baliwasan Seaside, Zamboanga City. Meanwhile, the smuggled cigarettes were intercepted aboard MV Trisha Kirstin-1 of Aleson Shipping Lines.

The seized goods were turned over to the BOC.

Meanwhile, District Collector of the Port of Zamboanga collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte has commended continued efforts to fight against smuggling particularly on agricultural products and other anti-social goods.

“The seizure of cigarettes should serve as a warning to smugglers and manufacturers of fake cigarettes,” according to BOC’s press release.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Duterte monitoring 100 more Customs execs linked to corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is monitoring 100 more Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials allegedly involved in corruption within the agency.

In a speech during the launching of Bataan government center and Business in Balanga town on Thursday, Duterte said he received a list of 164 BOC executives purportedly engaging in corrupt practices.

The president then quoted a former Customs’ employee who said that removing these officials would rid the agency of corruption.

“At itong Customs, I was given a list of 164. They have been there already for 38 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years,” he said.

“Sabi nung taong ma-acquit sana, an ex-employee of — sa Customs, ‘itong mga tao na ito, ‘Mayor, kung matanggal mo ito, mawawala ang corruption sa gobyerno,’” he added.

“In the meantime that I am investigating the 64, I think they were already suspended by the Ombudsman, I’m still trying to look for these 100 idiots, these sons of a b****,” the president further stated.

Sixty-four of these officials have already been placed on floating status in July and are facing administrative and criminal charges for unlawful activities.

READ: Duterte orders freezing of several Customs officials, employees

Duterte earlier suggested the removal of brokers and examiners at the Customs bureau to significantly reduce corruption in the agency.

He also suggested that instead of brokers, the BOC may be allowed to accredit or designate individuals or companies to arrange their shipment.

READ: Duterte wants brokers, examiners removed from PH Customs

Following Duterte’s proposal, BOC executives met on Wednesday (Sept.11) but have yet to release any information on their discussion on a new system seeking to eliminate the use of brokers in the processing of shipments in the port area. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte wants brokers, examiners removed from PH Customs

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is looking to remove brokers and examiners from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to significantly reduce corruption within the agency.

“Ang gusto ko wala nang brokers, pag may brokers, may corruption talaga yan,” Duterte told reporters on Tuesday night in Malacañang.

The president believes that if brokers and examiners are eliminated from the system, the persistent corruption in the BOC would be addressed.

“Kung gusto nilang walang corruption, tanggalin natin yung mga ano gross, wala nang examiners, sa Customs, wala ng brokers,” he said.

The Chief Executive suggested that instead of brokers, the BOC may be allowed to accredit or designate individuals or companies to arrange their shipment.

“Ang kumpanya may accreditation lang sila, sila na mismo ang magtrabaho duon,” he said.

Duterte has been lamenting the corruption in the BOC, prompting him to order a revamp and make agency leadership changes. So far, the president has appointed three BOC chiefs – first was Nicanor Faeldon, followed by Isidro Lapeña and then current chief Rey Leonado Guerrero.

The president said he would not wait for Congress to pass a law eliminating transactions with brokers.

“There are things which I have to do that Congress cannot tinker with. Those are one of them because that is to save the country from perdition,” he said.

Duterte, however, said this was just his proposal and urged BOC employees to ignore” brokers they dealt with before.

“You ignore the brokers. You go to a broker, I will not deal with you,” he said.

Following Duterte’s proposal, BOC executives met on Wednesday to discuss the drafting of a new system which will eliminate the use of brokers in the processing of shipments in the port area.

“We have been putting up (a system) right now and the initiatives along this line. We hope that it will lessen the transaction that is being done specifically that with the brokers,” said Bien Datuin of BOC Public Information and Assistance Division (PIAD). RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Ombudsman probes 119 BOC employees for various anomalies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Office of the Ombudsman is currently investigating 119 Bureau of Customs (BOC) employees due to various anomalies.

These employees are currently in floating status, according to BOC Commissioner Leonardo Guerrero.

“Ang instruction kasi ni President (The instruction of the president) is for them not to hold any position or office. So in the meantime, we have to account for them and the only way to account for them is to make sure we implement organizational mechanism that would make sure that they report daily for us to be able to know where they are in case they will be summoned for investigation,” he said.

Twenty-seven BOC employees were given a show cause order for their alleged involvement in corruption while the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of seven BOC executives.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires approved the dismissal of deputy collector for operations of the Manila International Container Port (MICP) Ramon Hernandez; Customs Operations Officer Lomonto Macabando; Customs Officers III Vanzandt Remonde and Vicente Gamboa; Customs Special Police assistant chief Jaybee Raul Cometa; BOC-Zamboanga Special Agent Oscar Farin and Customs security guard Renly Tiñana.

The administrative offenses committed by the officials include grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.

One employee, meanwhile, was suspended due to gross insubordination.

Guerrero also admits the ‘Tara System’ in BOC still exists. He also said he still receives offers from various individuals.

“Ilang beses ko pa ba sasabihin na ako hindi ako tumatanggap, hindi ako tatanggap at never akong tumanggap (How many times do I have to tell you, I do not accept [bribes], have not accepted [bribes], and will never accept [bribes]),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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