MANILA, Philippines — Eight district collectors and 30 section chiefs of the Bureau of Customs have been relieved from their posts following the earlier pronouncement of BOC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña that he would be relieving any officer who would disregard his marching order to stop corruption and bench-marking at their respective ports.
The district collectors who were axed from their post are: Elvira Cruz of Port of Cebu; Romeo Rosales of Port of San Fernando; Julius Premediles of Port of Limay; Jose Naig of Port of Iloilo; Carmelita Talusan of Port of Subic; Divina Garrido of Port of Legazpi; Halleck Valdez of Port of Zamboanga; and Tomas Alcid of Port of Appari.
In separate customs personnel orders dated September 27, 30 section chiefs from the BOC’s Formal Entry Divisions of the Port of Manila (POM) and Manila International Container Port (MICP) were also removed from their posts and reassigned to various provincial collection districts of the bureau.
The respective FED assistant chiefs of the said two ports were designated as acting chiefs following the major revamp.
Lapeña, during the turnover ceremony of BOC command on August 30, said he would give all BOC employees a clean slate. He said this again during a flag raising ceremony when he first met the bureau’s personnel from POM, MICP and the BOC collection district at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The customs chief repeatedly asked BOC personnel to stop the practice of accepting “tara” or grease money and immediately do away with “benchmarking” and instead apply the correct valuation of goods.
Lapeña said, “I personally monitor the ports including its daily collection performance and it is apparent from the records that benchmarking is still being used in the assessment of duties and taxes. This has to stop immediately.”
Meanwhile, some officials from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which Lapeña previously headed, have joined him at the BOC.
Melvin Estoque from PDEA Regional Office VII, is now the chief of the BOC’s Account Management Office, which is in charge of accrediting importers.
Director Jeoffrey Tacio from PDEA Regional Office I has been assigned as the officer in charge of the bureau’s Import Assessment Service, which monitors all import values of the goods taken into the country to prevent instances of undervaluation.
Also, PDEA Regional Office IV-B Director lawyer Jacquelyn L. De Guzman is the new officer-in-charge of the BOC’s Administration Office.
“There will be more reshuffling if the BOC personnel will not cooperate in the reforms we are making. I told everyone there, I will work within the Bureau. I will be one with them. But we must be all moving in one direction, and that is removing corruption at all levels,” Lapeña said Monday.
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