The Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means yesterday said in a press release from Congress that the abolition of the Bureau of Customs and its replacement with a professional institution run by private officials and employees is a good proposal to address the corruption problem at the BOC, but this will still need the nod of the legislature.
Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City) stressed the role of Congress following the disclosure of Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon that the BOC official himself has proposed the BOC abolition to get rid of all the corrupt officials and employees in the agency.
He said the government has to be realistic now with the advent of free trade and tariff incentives.
Computerization must be fast tracked since this is the recurring question every BOC budget hearing, Ungab said.
"I agree that lesser interaction with the importer and customs officials also decreases the probability of corruption," said Ungab.
Earlier, Biazon said he had initial talks with President Benigno Aquino about the ultimate solution to smuggling and corruption in the BOC.
Biazon said corruption is deeply embedded in the BOC’s culture and system so dismissing a few people or catching some smugglers will not totally eradicate the corruption problem.
He said the solution is to completely automate the system that will stop direct dealings between customs employees and importers.
Under the proposal being mulled, Biazon said the private institution that will replace the BOC will retain three percent of its tax and duty collections to fund its operations and be self-sustaining, the press release said.*