CHIZ SAYS FIRST-IN-FIRST-OUT POLICY CAN CURB CORRUPTION AT BOC
There is a way to minimize and resolve corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) or in any government agency for that matter, Sen. Chiz Escudero said on Monday.
According to Escudero, the government can institutionalize mechanisms that will ensure transparency and minimize corruption, which can in fact be established in all government agencies and not only in BOC.
"There is a way to resolve corruption at the BOC or in any other agency of government. Discretion always equals corruption. Minimize discretion and corruption will be minimized. Eliminate it and corruption will be eliminated. One such application is the FIFO or first-in-first-out rule," Escudero said.
Escudero suggested that BOC implement a stricter queuing system for incoming and outgoing shipments so that cargoes that came in first, will also be the first ones to be processed and released.
"Kapag unang dumating ang shipment na ito, dapat una nilang i-process ito bago nila i-process iyong pangalawang barkong dumating. Ang nangyayari kasi sa Bureau of Customs, alam naman nating lahat, uupuan iyong papel mo, ilalagay palagi sa ilalim hangga't lumapit ka. Dahil sa laki ng demurahe na kailangan mong bayaran, makikipag-areglo ka nalang para mas mapabilis ang paglabas ng shipment mo," he said.
Demurrage are charges paid to the BOC when a cargo remains in its terminal beyond the given free storage period.
Escudero reiterated that BOC must do a systems review and evaluate its existing protocols as well as eliminate certain areas of discretion in order to finally solve corruption in the agency.
"Ang pangunahing area of discretion sa customs, una, kailan ko ba pipirmahan o dedesisyunan iyong papel? Wala silang rule na ganoon. Maa-address iyon ng FIFO. Pangalawa, ano bang evaluation ang ilalagay ko diyan for tax purpose? May blue book naman na ang customs at matagal nang naimbento ang computer. Ang dali naman na sigurong gawin noon sa Bureau of Customs, para iyong human intervention at discretion, mabawasan o malimitahan mo man lang. Pag nabawasan o nalimitahan mo iyon, mas kaunti na lang ang kailangan mong bantayan," Escudero said.
Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his frustration over the rampant corruption in the BOC, saying it cannot be resolved regardless of who he appoints to lead the agency. The President even called on the military to take over BOC, saying it is in a state of "anarchy."
Photo from Francis (Chiz) Escudero Official Facebook page/Manila Bulletin