BOC forms anti-corruption unit

MANILA -- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has created a unit mandated to stop illicit acts of some Customs officials and employees from amassing ill-gotten wealth.

In a memorandum issued on December 29, 2017, Commissioner Isidro LapeAa ordered the creation of Interim Internal Affairs and Integrity Unit (IIAIU) that will primarily strengthen disciplinary actions on erring BOC personnel and aims to encourage everyone in the agency to be compliant with existing directives and policy guidelines.

The unit will be headed by the BOC chief and will be composed of one lawyer, two special investigators, and three administrative staff.

Corruption issue has been hounding the bureau for the longest time, "that is why we are now facing it head-on," LapeAa said in a statement.

He said the functions of the IIAIU will be to investigate complaints against BOC personnel, receive and gather evidence in support of an open investigation; conduct motu propio investigation on incidents where evidence in the prosecution of smuggling cases was compromised, tampered with, obliterated, or lost while in the custody of BOC personnel; conduct lifestyle checks on BOC personnel.

It also tasked to evaluate or recommend the filing of appropriate criminal cases against BOC personnel before the court as evidence warrants and assist in the prosecution of the case; and undertake liaison work, coordination, and provide assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman, National Anti-Corruption Commission of the Office of the President, and Revenue Integrity Protection Service of the Department of Finance.

All reports will be submitted monthly to the Commissioner.

"It is incumbent upon public servants to promote high standard of public service, improve efficiency and institute professionalism in all our dealings," he said.

With this, LapeAa warned employees who blatantly ignore and disobey his orders to step out or else they will be weeded out of the bureau.

"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 during the Monday regular flag raising ceremony of the bureau.

It can be noted that various reforms have been gaining ground since the present administration took over in September.

In its campaign against corruption, 641 personnel movements took place in a span of four months while in its efforts to increase government revenues, the bureau hit all-time high collections from September to November.

"We are not expecting to reach December target due to lesser imports since holiday season are over in the Philippines, but, we collected PHP44.450 billion, 109.2 percent of the PHP40.673 billion target," LapeAa said.

The bureau collected a total of PHP456.905 billion achieving 98 percent of the PHP467.896 billion 2017 BESF target.

Source: Philippine News Agency