New Customs chief to sack 9 of 10 heads of assessment
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said on Thursday that he would relieve 90 percent of the heads of the Bureau of Customs’ assessment units in all ports across the country in a bid to eradicate the “tara” system.
“Ninety percent … will be moved. I’m referring to the heads being the persons responsible in those sections,” Lapeña told reporters.
According to him, the majority of assessors and examiners in the bureau receive tara, or grease money paid by traders to expedite the release of their shipments.
“I will move the heads first, the chiefs of those sections who have been identified,” Lapeña said. “They are the ones who give value to the shipments. Some of them continue to do benchmarking … If they benchmark, it’s probably because of tara.”
Benchmarking means imposing a discretionary value, instead of the correct valuation, on each container van shipped into the country.
Lapeña noted that the tara system came into play once a shipment had been benchmarked.
Asked when he would relieve the officials, the Customs chief said: “I don’t have a timeline but by Monday there would be one.”
“I can relieve anybody based on my assessment in the best interest of the service. But the investigation will continue,” he added.
Lapeña said the deputies would take over the post of the relieved officials.