BOC ‘militarization’ boosted collections, says briefing paper
MANILA, Philippines—The so-called “militarization” of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has resulted in a “marked improvement” in the agency’s revenue collections, among other positive results of the BOC’s reform program, as well as removed doubts about the competence of former Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel appointed to the agency, the bureau claimed in its 2013 accomplishment report.
At least 11 retired military generals—including former AFP Chief of Staff Jessie Dellosa who was appointed deputy commissioner of the bureau’s Intelligence Group—an ex-colonel and more than a dozen active enlisted personnel are now part of the bureau’s 3,600 workforce.
A retired police general and an ex-commodore of the Philippine Coast Guard have also been appointed to top posts in the agency.
According to the report, the “firm stance of ex-military officials assigned as collectors in various ports nationwide, where questionable rice shipments continue to be held despite threats of legal action and contempt from local courts, has been encouraging other Customs reformers who are fighting daily battles on their own turfs.”
The BOC also cited the former military personnel for being a “counterforce, given the reality that many of the patrons of smugglers are influential people in government.”
According to a BOC briefing paper, the retired officers and active military personnel have introduced many initiatives aimed at addressing various internal processes and systems.
It also said “the entry of personnel with national security backgrounds has taken a view of the customs mandate not entirely from a revenue-collection perspective.”
Late last year, the Department of Finance started assigning retired military officers to the BOC, replacing the mainly career officials who were transferred to the newly created Customs Policy and Research Office (CPRO), tagged as the finance department “freezer.”
Aside from Dellosa, the other ex-generals include, among others, Mario Mendoza, Elmir de la Cruz, Arnulfo Marcos, Esteban Castro and Roberto Almadin, who were appointed district collectors at the Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, Subic Freeport in Zambales, Clark International Airport and the Port of Cebu, respectively.
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