The Bureau of Customs has filed administrative and criminal complaints against 119 Customs officials who were allegedly involved in illegal activities inside the agency as part of the bureau’s drive to rid itself of corrupt officials.
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In a statement, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the officials facing complaints have been placed on “floating” status and ordered to report to the Compliance Monitoring Unit every day pending the outcome of the investigation.
The BOC chief said 27 other officials were served show-cause orders for suspected underperformance and corruption.
Guerrero emphasized that his thrust to clear Customs of corrupt and underperforming officials would ultimately allow him to reach the BOC’s revenue target.
From September 2017 to July 2019, six officials have been dismissed from service, five have been punished with one- to six-month suspensions, four have been reprimanded, and one has been fined an amount worth six months of salary.
In July, President Rodrigo Duterte relieved 64 Customs officials and employees of their duties as they undergo investigation for alleged corruption.
Guerrero said more 100 BOC officials and personnel are now under investigation for alleged corruption.
Last week, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President has been telling Customs officials and employees that corruption has no place under his watch and said they will be given their day in court.
“Let this serve as a reminder to all those officials or employees in the government that they cannot escape liability or accountability for their acts of corruption under the Duterte administration,” he added.
Meanwhile, Guerrero said that BOC is tasked to collect P670 billion this year and needs to collect at least P55 billion a month to reach the target.
Also, Guerrero ordered all ports to closely monitor importation values, ensure correct valuation of goods, impose the appropriate excise taxes on excisable articles under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, and validate free trade agreement forms to ensure that these were not being used to defraud the country’s second-largest revenue agency amid already low, if not zero, duty rates.
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