Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon assumed office on 30 June with the challenge of heading an office that is often identified as among the country’s most corrupt government agencies.
The leadership of Commissioner Faeldon did not fail, as it has delivered on its first 3 months a number of reforms that has improved services in the Bureau.
Here’s what the current Bureau administration has already accomplished in its first 100 days:
Between July and September 2016, around P60.96 million worth of various kinds of illegal drugs have been seized in different ports in the country. Illegal drugs that were apprehended include marijuana, cocaine, shabu, and ecstacy — all of which were already turned over to the PDEA.
The Bureau has also uncovered on August the smuggling of firearms through a balikbayan box. These firearms were later on found to be used for the alleged assassination of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Also apprehended in various ports were smuggled vehicles, fabrics, gadgets, and agricultural items like rice, onions and sugar. The Manila International Container Port (MICP) alone seized several shipments that were found to have violated applicable customs laws. The shipments were valued at P4,685.920.00 in total.
Commissioner Faeldon has highlighted in press conferences his vow to stop the entry of illegal goods and commodities in the country – particularly dangerous drugs – under his leadership.
As he began his term, Commissioner Faeldon made clear his warning to corrupt Bureau officials and employees, and emphasized the need to reform the Bureau from within.
To date, around 18 cases involving employees of the Bureau have been investigated, with 14 cases already forwarded to the DOJ. Also, the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service has acted upon 22 complaints filed by stakeholders.
For full transparency, the administration of Commissioner Faeldon went full blast in the installation of CCTV cameras in the Bureau’s offices — a promise he made during the Malacañang press conference on August. Currently, there are 158 operational CCTV cameras installed in and around the Port of Manila and OCOM building — including Commissioner Faeldon’s own office. Livestreaming was also made available online to make camera feeds accessible to the public.
Commissioner Faeldon continuously appeals to the stakeholders and the public to cooperate with the Bureau by reporting all corrupt activities. “Do not isolate us. Instead, approach us, give us the opportunity to do our job,” he said.
For the implementation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) — which was signed into law during the Aquino administration — a series of weekly public consultations took off on September for the drafting of its Implementing Rules and Regulations. The public consultations gathered stakeholders to discuss the draft Customs Administrative Orders (CAOs) for select topics under the CMTA.
Before the 100th day of Commissioner Faeldon in office, one CAO (CAO No. 02-2016, Imported Goods with De Minimis Value Not Subject to Duties and Taxes) has been approved.
The Bureau also organized on September a forum on streamlining permits for efficient trade facilitation (attended by trade-related government agencies) and kicked off its series of seminars on basic Customs procedures, rules and regulations (for brokers, importers, and other stakeholders) on the same month. It also hosted on September international events like the 2016 World Customs Organization (WCO) – Partnership in Customs Academic Research and Development (PICARD) Conference, and the First Train-the-Trainers Workshop on the Implementation ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) 2017.
To enhance the performance of the Bureau, special offices/committees/departments were created such as the Committee on Revenue Enhancement (to address revenue collection shortage in the past), the Command Center (to centralize issuance of shipment alert orders), and the Special Studies and Project Development Committee.
Around P1.4 million worth of additional duties and taxes have been collected from August to September from shipments in Port of Manila (POM) and MICP that were subjected to spot checking and found as undervalued.
In addition, MICP generated a total of P50,598,968 in revenues from public auction sales it conducted from July to August.
These supplemented the monthly revenue collection targets of the Bureau, which reached 85.9% and 95.2% for July and August, respectively. These figures are higher by 6% and 8%, respectively, compared to collections from the same month last year.
“We are digits higher than last year’s collection. 2014 and 2015 reports are same. Our plan is to improve the revenue collection of BOC,” he said.
Commissioner Faeldon stressed that the eradication of corruption will help the Bureau yield higher revenue collection.