Home » Customs & Trade, Press Releases » BOC creates anti-corruption unit

The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has created a special unit to evaluate complaints and conduct lifestyle checks on customs officials and personnel.

BOC’s Interim Internal Affairs and Integrity Unit (IIAIU), created under Customs Special Order (CSO) No. 01-2018, was created “in the exigency of service” and in compliance with the marching order of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop corruption in the country’s second highest revenue-generating agency.

CSO 01-2018, dated December 29, took effect immediately.

The CSO also noted that under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, “it is the policy of the state to protect and enhance government revenues and institute professionalism and meritocracy in Customs Tax Administration.” Other relevant laws also state that it is a policy “to promote a high standard of public service, repress certain acts of public officers which constitute graft and corrupt practices, and improve efficiency in the delivery of service to the public.”

The IIAIU will be under the Office of the Commissioner and perform duties and responsibilities by authority of the customs chief.

Its functions include investigating complaints against BOC personnel, which include receiving and gathering evidence in support of an open investigation. IIAIU can also conduct motu proprio investigation of incidents where evidence in the prosecution of smuggling cases was compromised, tampered with, obliterated, or lost in the custody of BOC personnel.

The new unit is also authorized to conduct lifestyle checks on BOC personnel.
Its functions also include evaluating or recommending the filing of appropriate cases against BOC personnel before the court as evidence warrants, and assist in prosecuting the cases.

The IIAUI will also undertake liaison and coordination work and provide assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman, National Anti-Corruption Commission of the Office of the President, and the Revenue Integrity Protection Service of the Department of Finance.

The unit may also perform other tasks as directed by the customs commissioner. IIAUI will be composed of at least one organic attorney, at least three special investigators, and at least three administrative staff. Its funding will be sourced from applicable budgets as certified by BOC’s Financial Management Office, while logistics will be provided by General Services under the Internal Administration Group.

During the Jan 8 flag raising ceremony, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña again gave a stern warning to employees who ignore and disobey his orders.

“We already know you by names, it’s only a matter of time before I kick you out. I don’t care if you are backed by some officials. The President has given me full authority to lead this agency,” he said.

Lapeña earlier said he was giving a clean slate to all customs officials and personnel, but would strictly implement his “one strike policy.”

From September to December 2017, the agency undertook a total of 641 BOC personnel movements as part of the anti-corruption drive. Several employees were also reassigned to other districts, while 10 district collectors were transferred to the Control Monitoring Unit. The commissioner also relieved 25 employees from their post and dismissed two for abuse of authority.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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