MANILA–Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commis-sioner Isidro Lapeña has relieved eight district collectors and 30 section chiefs from the different ports in the country.
In a Customs Person-nel Order (CPO) issued last week, the BOC chief ordered the replacement of the following port heads: Elvira Cruz of Port of Cebu; Romeo Rosales of Port of San Fernando; Julius Premediles of Port of Limay; Jose Naig of Port of Iloilo; Carmelita Talusan of Port of Subic; Divina Garrido of Port of Legazpi; Halleck Valdez of Port of Zamboanga; and Tomas Alcid of Port of Aparri.
The order comes after Lapeña’s earlier pro-nouncement that he will be relieving any officer who will disregard his marching order to stop corruption and benchmarking in their respective ports.
In separate CPOs issued last month, 30 sec-tion chiefs from the Formal Entry Divisions (FED) of the Port of Manila (POM) and Manila International Container Port (MICP) were also relieved from their post and were re-assigned to various provin-cial collection districts of the BOC.
Lapeña has designated the respective FED assis-tant chiefs of the said two ports as acting chiefs.
The Customs chief has repeatedly asked BOC personnel to stop the prac-tice of “tara” and to imme-diately do away with “benchmarking” and ins-tead apply the correct valuation of goods.
“I personally monitor the ports including its daily collection performance and it is apparent from the records that benchmarking is still being used in the assessment of duties and taxes. This has to stop immediately,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Lapeña announced the entry of some Philippine Drug En-forcement Agency (PDEA) officials to the bureau.
These include Melvin Estoque from PDEA Re-gional Office VII, Director Jeoffrey Tacio from PDEA Regional Office I and PDEA Regional Office IV-B Director lawyer Jac-quelyn L. De Guzman.
Estoque is the new chief of the Account Ma-nagement Office which is in charge of accrediting importers while Tacio was assigned as the officer in charge of the bureau’s Import Assessment Ser-vice (IAS).
IAS monitors all import values of the goods taken into the country to prevent instances of undervaluation.
De Guzman has been assigned as the new officer in charge of the Adminis-tration Office.
“There will be more reshuffling if the BOC personnel will not coope-rate in the reforms we are making. I told everyone there, I will work within the Bureau. I will be one with them. But we must be all moving in one direction, and that is removing corruption at all levels,” Lapeña added.
The Customs head had said that he will be bringing his trusted people in PDEA to help him implement reforms in the agency.
Lapeña was appointed to the post last August replacing Nicanor Fael-don. PNA