Trillanes backs ‘secret’ way of life checks for Customs workers
Mandatory lifestyle check for employees and a revival of private pre-shipment inspection are among the measures
pushed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to help rid the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of corruption.
Trillanes has joined other senators in expressing doubts on the effectiveness of President Duterte’s move to have the
Armed Forces take over the BOC, where billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs have slipped through in the last two years.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier said learning from past mistakes and best practices while putting in place an effective counter-intelligence
system is a much better approach to cleaning up the bureau than deploying military personnel.
With the cleaning up of the bureau should come the prosecution of drug lords and customs officials responsible for smuggling tons
of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, including former BOC commissioners Isidro Lapeña and Nicanor Faeldon.
“The government should conduct covert lifestyle checks and prosecute or dismiss erring BOC personnel,” Trillanes said.
He said incentives for customs personnel who exceed performance targets should also increased.
Operations of the BOC should fully computerized, to include mandatory electronic filing with automatic electronic copies furnished
to Commission on Audit (COA), the Office of the Ombudsman and counter-intelligence units, he said.
The government should revive the private pre-shipment inspection services while reducing customs duties – except for protected goods
– to discourage smuggling, he said.
Trillanes also suggested the BOC utilize multiple remote x-ray monitors manned by COA and counter-intelligence units to avoid collusion
among erring personnel and officials, and to provide countercheck to findings of the bureau’s x-ray operators.
The Senate Blue Ribbon committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, is set to resume on Nov. 22 its inquiry into the smuggling of
an estimated P11 billion worth of shabu last July.
One of the inquiry’s key witnesses – former BOC intelligence operative Jimmy Guban – was taken into the Department of Justice’s
witness protection program on Wednesday.
Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza is also pushing for compulsory pre-shipment inspection of all “containerized imports” to thwart
the smuggling of illegal drugs and goods through ports in Manila and other cities.
“The President is in a position to administratively direct the mandatory inspection at the country of origin of all containerized cargoes destined for the Philippines,” he said.
He said smuggling of illegal drugs could have detected had shipments examined at the port of origin.
“All of the estimated P21 billion worth of methamphetamine or shabu smuggled through the Manila port in three batches between May 2017 and July 2018 arrived in 20-foot shipping containers from China, Malaysia and Taiwan,” he said.
He included that pre-shipment examination the training utilized by governments, for the most part in creating nations, of expecting merchants to draw in licensed outsider surveyors to check shipment points of interest, for example, value, amount and nature of merchandise, before cargoes withdraw the trading nation.
Further, Atienza brought up that this investigation framework utilized to keep the undervaluation of assessable imports and to adjust for the deficiencies in the bringing in nation’s traditions and other authoritative structures.
Hence, in the midst of the debate encompassing the missing shabu shipment assessed to worth between P6.8 billion and P11 billion and fault going by the BOC and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the President a week ago arranged the “military takeover” of the BOC.
Organization authorities have since cleared up that fighters would only conveyed to the nation’s ports to help discourage screwy Customs authorities and workers.