Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » BOC enlists public help to nab erring officials, smugglers

ID-100128525The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is asking the public to become directly involved as the agency intensifies its campaign to cleanse its ranks of corrupt officials and stamp out smuggling in the country.

This after the BOC introduced a feedback mechanism for public queries and concerns over Customs services. More important, the program encourages citizens and stakeholders to submit information concerning illegal practices by customs officials including those related to graft, improper action, negligence, and lavish lifestyles.

“We are calling on the public to be the bureau’s active partner in our drive against smugglers and erring officials. If you suspect items in your local market, mall establishments or even online stores to be selling smuggled items, please report (them) to our official channels so our frontliners can immediately address them,” Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina said in a statement.

“If you experience any problems with our frontline services, you may also let us know—it could be in our bureau, our ports and airports. If your Customs taxes or duties were not properly explained to you in collecting your parcel or shipment, report it to us so our staff can properly assist you,” added Lina, stating that reports going viral in social media sites are more difficult to trace for lack of information.

The BOC also encourages citizens to report officials who live a lavish lifestyle.

“Public servants have to make good their civil service oath in leading a modest lifestyle. If you know of or see officials from our bureau contradictory to this then by all means file a report with us through these channels so we can initiate investigations,” Lina said.

Complaints desk

Last September 9, BOC opened a public assistance and complaints desk, the Citizens’ Charter, tasked to receive queries and concerns from the public and stakeholders.

In line with this, a Facebook page—the Bureau of Customs Public Assistance and Complaint Desk—was created, and BOC’s Twitter account—@CustomsPH—is also to be utilized for this campaign. The public may also email ocompacd@gmail.com or call (02) 705-6052 for the same purpose.

According to BOC, the Citizens’ Charter has already received 206 communications via Facebook, Twitter, phone calls, and e-mails since it started. The most common issues raised include tracking and inquiring about parcels and balikbayan (personal gifts) boxes, asking to clarify the computation of duties and taxes, as well as seeking information on accreditation and other procedures for importers and brokers.

Of the 206 concerns, 173 were resolved, said the agency. The rest could not be addressed due to lack of information provided such as the tracking number and bill of lading number, as well as the complainant not responding to follow-ups by the help desk.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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