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90% of erring BoC examiners to be removed

By: Raymund F. Antonio

After he relieved two district collectors at Manila ports, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña is training his sights to get rid of 90 percent of erring Customs examiners and appraisers in the ports nationwide.

In a media briefing, Lapeña said he would let the ax fall on the majority of examiners and appraisers, including section heads in the ports, in his bid to remove the “tara” system.

“If they will not follow our guidance. I will have to move them. I will move the heads first, the chiefs of those sections who have been identified. May be I will allow the deputy to take over and see if he performs better than his chief,” he said.

“I can relieve anybody based on my assessment for the best interest of the service, but the investigation will continue. If there is enough basis warranted they would be subjected to disciplinary action,” Lapena said.

The Bureau of Customs chief explained they would be relieved because they were responsible for not having the correct assessment on the value of imported goods entering the ports.

Asked when he would carry out the relief of the BoC personnel, Lapeña said he may start sacking some people from the Assessment Division possibly on Monday.

His decision came in the wake of the existence of the tara system in the bureau.

Lapeña, who replaced resigned BoC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, confirmed the distribution of tara is existing within the agency to facilitate the movement of the goods of certain businessmen.

He vowed to do everything in his power to clean up his agency of alleged misfits from its ranks.

“This should be a wake up call. They should follow because that is good for the government and for all of us,” the former chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said.

Recently, lawyers Vincent Philip Maronilla and Rhea Gregorio, district collectors of the Manila International Container Port and Port of Manila, respectively, were relieved by Lapeña from their posts.

They were moved to the BoC Compliance Monitoring Unit.

The commissioner said he implemented the transfer of the two collectors to the CMU because of the benchmarking in their ports, which was contrary to his “guidance to have the correct valuation of goods as basis of tariff.”

MICP deputy collector for operations Ruby Claudia Alameda replaced Maronilla while PoM deputy collector for operations Ernelito Aquino assumed in acting capacity the post of Gregorio.