Latest Stories

Roxas: Top-to-bottom revamp at BOC soon


MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang will soon implement a top-to-bottom reorganization at the Bureau of Customs as a major step to curb smuggling in the country.

“I think the biggest part of reform is changing the people,” Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas told Philippine Daily Inquirer editors and reporters at a dinner on Thursday.

Roxas, a confidant of President Benigno Aquino III, said no amount of computerization of customs processes could bring about sweeping change at the graft-ridden bureau within the remainder of Mr. Aquino’s term without the replacement of key officials.

Roxas hinted that Commissioner Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon’s move to ask for the courtesy resignations of customs collectors and the so-called “Three Kings” of the BOC—Carlos So, reportedly backed by the Iglesia ni Cristo, Rogel Gatchalian, reportedly backed by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and Ricardo Belmonte reportedly backed by his brother, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.—was part of this plan.

“I think they could be placed on floating status,” said Roxas, but clarified that he was not privy to the actual directives of Aquino regarding the BOC reorganization.

“But I think that the President and Commissioner Biazon have already announced their program of relieving all the customs collectors,” he pointed out.

Biazon had announced that the BOC would soon roll out a suite of software solutions under its P418-million Integrated Philippine Customs System (i-PCS) project to curb smuggling and corruption at the bureau.

President Aquino had singled out the BOC in his State of the Nation Address to a joint session of Congress for repeatedly falling short of its collection targets and failing to check smuggling and corruption.

Biazon, unveiling his renewed game plan to increase collections, stop smuggling and curb corruption in the bureau, said that one of the main pillars of his reform agenda was the “full computerization” of the bureau.

“With computerization, there will be no contact between the importer and customs employees. No paper work. Everything will be by computer. Aside from curbing corruption, transactions in the BOC will be quick. Fixers will be put out of business. And collections will increase,” he said.

BOC’s computerization agenda includes implementing the i-PCS, which builds on the gains of the electronic-to-mobile (e2m) computerization project that has been operational since 2009.

The i-PCS project was awarded last June to the joint venture of Dubai-based Webb Fontaine and local firm Global Resource for Outsource Workers Inc.

(The project has run into some problems, however, with a Manila court recently ordering a temporary stop to its implementation until it resolves a case filed by a losing bidder alleging that the contract was awarded on the basis of “spurious documents.”)

Roxas explained that the BOC was nothing more than an agency that collected tariffs and duties from importers.

“What is the Customs except a toll both? It’s the person” who should be reformed, he said.

He said smuggling and corruption would not go away “whatever electronic (process) you will institute, if the collector will not collect the money or place it in the cash register, but put it in his pocket.”

He said the person manning the toll booth was the problem, so a “modern, airconditioned, computerized” toll booth would not do the trick.

The President “has been wanting change in the Bureau of Customs,”Roxas said. “Part of his plans for changing the Bureau of Customs was [retaining the services of] Commissioner Biazon, so that much I know.”

Since Aquino’s state of the nation speech, Malacañang has been keeping the media—and the public—at bay on the major reforms that the Prersident intends to implement at the BOC.

“Let’s wait for the reforms,” was all the President’s official spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, would tell reporters.

Asked about these reforms, Roxas said: “You’ve seen the biggest reform—the people.”

He said that whatever system the BOC has, “if the personnel won’t follow or would play blind,” any reform would be meaningless.

Biazon said Friday he would announce within two weeks who among the district and subport customs collectors would be replaced on the basis of their performance as revenue collectors (40 percent), enforcement against smuggling (30 percent) and feedback from “stakeholders,” presumably the public (30 percent).

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: BOC , BOC revamp , Bureau of Customs , Customs revamp , Graft and Corruption , Manuel "Mar" Roxas , Politics , revamp , Smuggling

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Cardinal Tagle: Start new life with true peace
  • ‘Dry spell’ delayed, thanks to busted valve
  • At 77, Erap has Easter treat for Manila cops but keeps City Hall folk in agony
  • Joy Belmonte defends council, waste-to-energy tech
  • House bill seeks special body to manage, protect Manila Bay
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Ateneo eyes quarterfinal spot vs Benilde
  • Style contrast marks OneFC ‘Rise of Heroes’
  • ‘Pacquiao a great ambassador for basketball’
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Awarded TV couple brings Jesus’ life to the big screen
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • Marketplace