PHILIPPINE Customs Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla has signed 29 customs personnel orders (CPO) meant to rationalize the headcount in all offices and units of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
The CPOs cover 3,336 plantilla or regular employees, and is part of the continuing reform in the bureau. The orders transfer 228 personnel from one group or collection district to another.
“The CPOs intend to clarify and fully implement previous personnel orders to return to their permanent plantilla positions and, where there are vacancies, the temporary takeover of the next-in-rank employee,” Sevilla said.
The latest batch of CPOs operationalizes the directive for all BOC personnel to return to their permanent plantilla positions as detailed in CPO B-134-2013, while ensuring continuity of operations of all units and offices of the agency by empowering next-in-rank employees to temporarily exercise authority where there are vacancies, reiterating CPO B-143-2013.
A technical working group (TWG) reviewed the entire BOC organization and manpower structure then made the necessary personnel adjustments. The TWG was created under Customs Special Order No. 52-2013, headed by BOC deputy commissioner for Internal Administration Group Myrna Chua.
“These also fill in the gaps in ad hoc BOC units that do not have permanent plantilla headcount yet. These initial steps will give us a comprehensive view of the total manpower resource of the Bureau to prepare for a more rational and relevant staffing complement intended to align the headcount of each BOC unit with their actual needs and operational requirements,” Sevilla further explained.
While the CPOs are effective immediately, all affected employees will be given time to turn over their duties, responsibilities and accountabilities.
The new Customs chief also met with the District Collectors of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) to ensure continuity of frontline services and minimal disruptions, taking into account the on-going holiday peak season.
“The CPOs also partly address the uneven distribution of warm bodies across groups and ports as the first step towards rationalizing the manpower complement. In deciding on personnel movements, we took into account several factors: customer or cargo volume; actual headcount and competencies of the employees concerned,” Chua said.
“Further work on the review of functions, work load and process improvements with the use of information technology and how these would impact on personnel requirements, will be undertaken,” Chua added.
The bureau is in the thick of a massive reform program aimed at transforming itself into a competent, professional and credible agency. These reforms are intended to institutionalize integrity in the agency and its personnel, rebuild credibility, curb smuggling in all forms and plug the loopholes that create lost revenues for the government.–– Roumina M. Pablo