Lawmakers call for the abolishment of the Bureau of Customs

admin   •   September 1, 2017   •   3346

MANILA, Philippines — The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs’ number one recommendation is for the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to be abolished.

This, after a series of hearings the Lower House conducted on the billions of peso worth of shabu shipment from China that the agency failed to intercept.

Former BOC commissioner and now Muntinlupa Representative Ruffy Biazon is the one who recommended the abolition of the agency he once led.

According to Biazon, this is the easiest way to prevent the prevalent smuggling and corruption in Customs.

The lawmaker proposed that among the matters need to be attended to, if a new agency will replace the BOC, is the selection and setting of qualifications for employees to be hired.

“We need to set standards that are appropriate to the needs and function of the agency. Second, the business processes should be re-engineered to update the process and to block the gaps, or lapses,” said Biazon.

Biazon cited Peru as an example of a country that implements such a good system on entering and exiting shipments, saying it is not impossible for the Philippines to do the same.

“They shut down the existing agency. They offered early retirement, others have optional retirement… it generated a positive result that’s why it has been highlighted as one of the success stories in Customs reform worldwide,” said the former commissioner.

The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs also recommended to replace current deputy commissioners and port collectors, the abolition of command centers of the BOC, and to return to the intelligence enforcement group the authority to issue alert orders.

It also proposed the installation of additional x-ray machines and CCTV cameras at BOC ports, customs inspectors and agents wearing body cameras, and the filing of charges against former Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and other employees of the agency. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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)

Archaeologists in Peru unearth ancient mural reflecting on importance of water

Robie de Guzman   •   August 20, 2019

Archaeologists in northern Peru have unearthed an ancient mural from the lost Caral civilization that is believed to be about 3,800 years old, officials reported.

The discovery was made in the Vichama archaeological site. A team of excavators has brushed away earth from the mural to reveal figures that depict a toad that wraps its hands around the head of a man.

Archaeologist Tatiana Abad, told a news conference in Lima, the mural represents the “announcement of the arrival of water,” adding “it talks about the importance of water in times of crisis and the reflections that we can create from them.”

“It has been found in the same building as last year when we presented one about snakes and this would complement the message. The importance of this mural is its age, which is 3,800 years old, which talks about the importance of water in times of crisis and the reflections that we can create from them,” Abad said.

“It belongs to the late period of what would be the Caral civilization. Caral is 4,500 years old and this relief would’ve been built in the late period within the archaeological site of Vichama in the Huara Valley,” she added.

Excavations at Vichama have been ongoing since 2007 and continue to reveal new insights into the ancient civilization such as an advanced city plan and architecture.

The Caral is believed to be the oldest civilization in the Americas, dating as far back as 3,000 BCE. But little is still known of this ancient city. The site is currently in an arid region of Peru, leaving many to conclude that climate change may have played a role in its demise.

According to archaeologists, the civilization was mysteriously toppled at around 1,600 BCE. (Reuters)

(Production: Carlos Valdez)

BOC condemns P2.2-M worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Zamboanga

Marje Pelayo   •   August 16, 2019

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the port of Zamboanga condemned 45 boxes of smuggled cigarettes on Wednesday (August 14).

The condemned goods, with an estimated value of P2.2 Million, were seized in the joint operation by the BOC Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), the Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) and various enforcement agencies in a drive to crackdown counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes.

The operation followed a report that reached the BOC about undetermined boxes of smuggled cigarettes of different brands on board passenger vessel MV Maria Erlinda of Montenegro Shipping Lines Inc. which arrived at Jolo, Sulu.

Following the condemnation, Barte encouraged civilians to report any incident of smuggling to help intensify the anti-smuggling campaign of the BOC.

“The Bureau has remained consistent in its efforts to rid the country of faked and smuggled goods in order to protect our local and legitimate businesses as well as to protect the public from the health risks that these illegal goods may cause,” the BOC said on its official social media page.

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