PH Customs opens text hotline 8484 for corruption complaints

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2019   •   258

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has launched text hotline 8484 which will allow the public to report corrupt practices and other irregularities involving any of its employees and officials.

The BOC said the public may also use the hotline to report brokers, importers, fixers and other entities involved in smuggling, bribery, illegal drugs and other illegal activities.

Citizens only have to send a text message to 8484 with complete information including the name of the person involved, what illegal activity was committed, when, where, why and how it was done.

The BOC assured that citizens’ report on suspected corruption-related incidents will be “handled with confidentiality and processed immediately.”

The bureau said the hotline system was established for the public in order to voice their complaints without fear of retaliation, and to help the bureau get rid of corrupt practices.

The 8484 hotline is initially available for Globe-TM users 24/7.

BOC Zamboanga seizes smuggled rice and cigarettes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019

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)

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)

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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