Criteria eyed for Customs appointments | Inquirer News

Criteria eyed for Customs appointments

/ 07:10 AM August 14, 2017

The House of Representatives ways and means committee is likely to recommend that criteria be put in place for appointments to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) so that positions would not be occupied by those who lack technical know-how.

Committee chair Quirino Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua said the taxation agency, mandated to regulate trade and combat smuggling, required personnel who could understand “highly technical” details.

“There should be certain criteria for offices where you cannot be unable to understand the system. These are highly technical. You cannot get people who do not understand,” Cua said in a radio interview on Sunday.


Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and other key officials such as Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Director Neil Estrella were criticized by lawmakers in the House’s marathon hearings for violating various legal procedures on conducting antidrug operations and handling narcotic evidence, possibly killing any chance of a criminal case to prosper.

‘Tough military man’

Cua said that while Faeldon was seen as a “tough military man” who would not easily be influenced, this would hardly be enough.

“It’s not just about, oh, I’m tough and you cannot scare me. What’s required is someone who really studies the system, looks into the details, looks at the parameters of the risk management system,” he said.

At the same time, the committee may be likely to recommend an “overhaul or revamp” of the BOC when it comes up with its report on its investigation of the smuggling of P6.4-billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) in May.

He said the command center organized by Faeldon should be abolished for centralizing functions under one entity, hampering antismuggling operations.

“There’s a need, I think, for an overhaul or a revamp,” he said. “One of the recommendations I think this committee will pursue is the abolition of the command center.”

He compared the consolidation of authority in the BOC to an “embudo” (funnel), allowing certain key officials to have greater control.


At the same time, Cua said the committee might recommend that certain criteria be put in place.

Since the contraband shipment slipped past the Customs’ risk-selectivity system and was allowed to go through the green lane for minimal inspection, Cua said the command center setup failed to address the smuggling problem.

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“The purpose of the command center is to be stricter and to be more controlled by the commissioner’s trusted men, but it did not happen,” Cua said, even despite the tightened system coming at the expense of checks and balances.

TAGS: Dakila Carlo Cua, Neil Estrella

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