Lacson: BOC still practices ‘Tara’ system
Updated (7:40 p.m.)
MANILA, Philippines — The “tara” system is still being practiced at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed Wednesday.
In 2017, Lacson revealed that Customs officials and employees collected payola, known as tara, of up to P71,700 on each shipment smuggled through the BOC.
Lacson said the system has not been stopped and for some Customs officials, it “remains business-as-usual.”
“Despite my expose on the massive corruption inside the Bureau of Customs, much to my dismay, I was informed just recently that the Tara System has not been, by any chance, suppressed. Worse, for many Customs officials, it remains business-as-usual,” Lacson said in a privilege speech.
He said his sources confirmed that the following departments or offices in the BOC continue to take their tara:
- Office of the Commissioner – an average of P5,000 per container plus 10 percent of collections of each section or office directly under OCOM.
- Intelligence Group – P3,000
- Enforcement Group – P1,000 to 2,000
- Risk Management Office – P3,000
- Import and Assessment Service – P2,000 to 3,000
He added that Manila International Container Port (MICP) and Port of Manila (POM) offices receive P3,000 per container and each container with an alert order may be charged up to P5,000.
“With the average of 2,000 and 7,000 containers transacted for release every week at both the Port of Manila and MICP, imagine how much “tara” goes to the pockets of these insatiably corrupt Customs officials,” the senator noted.
While Lacson claimed that Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero “remained untainted by corruption,” that cannot be said of his subordinates.
He said he will leave it to Customs Commissioner General Rey Guerrero to investigate the process, challenging the official to weed out corruption in the bureau totally.
“Kung kani-kanino napupunta ang nasabing mga “tara” (The tara goes to different people) for his office or the Office of the Commissioner, I will leave it to Gen. Guerrero to investigate and find out,” the senator said.
“To uphold your strong integrity and moral principles is a test of your character. The test of your leadership, on the other hand, is how your integrity and principles resound in the halls of your office and influence the actions and behavior of your subalterns. To fail in one is to fail in both,” he added.
Lacson also pointed out that the Filipino people demand much from Guerrero’s leadership.
“While I continue to vouch for your character as it remains unquestionable, some of your people are afflicted with severely debilitated credibility, which may eventually reflect on you and the institution that you lead and represent,” he said. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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