Customs to form regional task forces
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III ordered Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña to create interagency task forces at the regional level to unify and beef up anti-smuggling operations in the provinces.
Dominguez said during a recent Department of Finance executive committee meeting the cooperation among the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue along with other government agencies should go down to the regional level to ensure that provincial operations against suspected illicit trading practices were well coordinated.
“We would like the cooperation between the BIR and the Customs to go down to the regional level. They have to be meeting regularly on the regional level, not only in the national headquarters [in Manila],” Dominguez told Lapeña.
Dominguez wants the BOC and BIR to strengthen their cooperation at the regional level against anti-smuggling activities, as most illicitly traded goods entering the country were being sold outside Metro Manila.
Dominguez said a joint operation conducted recently by the BIR and the National Bureau of Investigation discovered that a commercial establishment in Cabanatuan City was storing 480 master cases of illicitly traded cigarettes.
A few weeks after assuming office, Lapeña unveiled his five-point program for the BOC, which included eliminating the “tara” system, increasing revenue collections, and strengthening the government’s anti-smuggling efforts while improving the incentives and rewards systems for employees.
Lapeña said that topping his priority list was weeding out corruption at the BOC, which he planned to do by implementing the “no tara, no gift and no-take” policy at the bureau.
His five-point program, Lapeña said, involved stopping corruption, increasing revenues, ensuring trade facilitation, strengthening anti-smuggling efforts and enhancing the personnel incentives, rewards system and compensation benefits for BOC personnel.
Lapeña also implemented the “one-strike” policy at the BOC, which led to the relief of the district
collectors in the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port.