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Probe into Bureau of Customs corruption

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The Bureau of Customs (BOC) said it supports the ongoing investigation into corruption at the agency by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), which has served subpoenas to Port of Manila and Manila International Container Port (MICP) officials over documents related to smuggling and to the unauthorized release of shipments.

“The BOC, under the leadership of Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, remains committed in putting policy reforms in order to address the problem of corruption in the Bureau,” BOC said in a statement on October 25.

According to BOC assistant commissioner and spokesperson Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla, the agency is working closely with the PACC and has already provided the commission with some documents for evaluation and investigation.

PACC last August said it would investigate several agencies flagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as having corrupt officials and employees.

“This cooperation with PACC is part of our continuous campaign against corruption which is one of the priorities that the Commissioner has been emphasizing since his assumption as customs chief,” Maronilla said.

BOC said that since November 2018, show-cause orders have been issued to 127 customs employees for non-compliance with customs rules and regulations. Furthermore, 23 administrative and 25 criminal complaints have been filed against errant customs personnel during the term of Guerrero.

Several customs personnel have also been dismissed from the service this year, including a Port of Manila customs guard after a complaint was received through BOC’s complaint text hotline 8484. The hotline was established in August 2019 to help BOC get rid of corrupt practices in its ranks.

A “no contact policy” is also being implemented in the Account Management Office (AMO), the customs office handling importer accreditation and customs brokers’ registration. Importers and customs brokers may only apply online through the Customer Care Portal System (CCPS).

CCPS is a web-based application introduced last June that is designed to combat red tape and promote transparency and efficiency in the delivery of customs services. Through this system, importers and customs brokers may apply online for accreditation with BOC without face-to-face transactions with customs personnel. BOC said an estimated 17,500 importers and 2,200 customs brokers are actively transacting with BOC.

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