Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » BOC order on whistleblower’s reward up for public comment

The Philippine Customs order providing guidelines for granting rewards to informants who provide smuggling leads is now up for public review.

Under Section 1512 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), the proposed customs administrative order (CAO) is “a cash reward equivalent to 20% of the actual proceeds from the sale of smuggled goods and confiscated goods or actual collection of additional revenues shall be given to the customs and non-customs informers or whistleblowers who are instrumental in the collection of additional revenues arising from the discovery of violations of this Act in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the Secretary of Finance.”

The cash reward is subject to income tax, collected as a final withholding tax at a rate of 10%.

Stakeholders have until July 6 to submit their position papers on the draft CAO. A public consultation will also be held on the same date.

The proposed order states that the reward aims to encourage the public to cooperate fully in eradicating smuggling.

In a statement on the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) social media accounts, Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon invited active participation in the agency’s “transformation campaign”, citing the monetary reward under CMTA’s Section 1512.

Under the proposed CAO, the BOC will establish a committee on rewards that will exercise exclusive authority to evaluate and act on the claims for reward filed with the customs agency.

The committee is tasked to create and maintain accurate and reasonably complete customs records on all rewards granted by BOC to informers. It is required to submit quarterly reports to the Department of Budget and Management, House Speaker, Senate President, House Committee on Appropriations, and Senate Committee on Finance.

Unless the information is proven to be malicious or false, the identity of the informer will be kept confidential at all times before and after the case is closed, and not be disclosed to unauthorized persons, especially to the taxpayer, importer or exporter involved, without the informer’s consent.

Any government official or employee who maliciously reveals the identity of any informer without the latter’s consent faces severe disciplinary action.

For information proven to be false or made only to harass, molest, or prejudice the person denounced, the victim is entitled to seek the warranted criminal or civil action.

The claim for reward must be filed by the claimant with the office to which he gave the information not later than one year from realization of the proceeds.

All public officials, whether incumbent or retired, who acquired the information while performing their duties are prohibited from claiming the informer’s reward. – Roumina Pablo

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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