BOC corruption persists

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BUREAU of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Isidro Lapena may have only scraped the icing in the pie of corruption in his agency.

He may not even know it. But many importers and brokers are shouting out their anger, frustration and disappointment over what they described as grave abuse of discretion by some corrupt customs officials.

These corrupt officials according to importers are out not to do their jobs but to virtually squeeze them off of their hard earned money, even if their documents and declared values are allegedly in order. 

Hard time

And yet, no matter how traumatic and financially draining their experiences are with these corrupt customs officials, they can only shout their anger in the silence of their heart for fear that they might be given a hard time at BOC.

But in fairness Comm. Lapena, he is doing his very best to stop corruption in his agency.

However, like being thrown into a pit half-filled with corrupt customs officials who have already mastered the art of exploiting the weakness of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) to facilitate their illegal activities in the bureau, Lapena needs to do a massive moral reform and recovery program for corrupt BOC employees.

Culture of corruption

According to a customs broker, it’s really the culture of corruption that is the problem at BOC. 

Take for instance the experience of a customs broker who facilitated the release of 40 20-footer container vans of rice.

According to him, he had to shell out an extra amount of P 2,000 per container van as facilitation fee or “tara” for short.

After having paid the corresponding duties and fees for his rice shipment, based on its maximum assessed values, the broker requested the assessor that instead of P2,000 he will just give  P 200 per container van as form of grease money since his papers were in order.

Mindset

But to the broker’s dismay, the customs official allegedly replied that “di puwede at malulugi kami” (Its not possible as we would lose money). 

Obviously, this customs official was not doing things on his own.

But in heaven’s name, how could this customs official and his cohorts lose money when they do not have any investment on the said rice shipment?

And this is exactly the problem with the mindset of some customs officials.

They think that their being connected with the BOC is an investment and that they are entitled to earn revenues from its operations.