MANILA – Saying that corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has become “a malady without a cure,” Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro wants the agency abolished.
“Corruption seems to have been part of the bureau’s culture … It is much publicized that the government is losing a huge amount of revenue due to corruption at the Bureau of Customs,” he said in filing House Bill No. 7126.
In its place, Castro proposed the establishment of a new entity with a corporate structure to be called the Customs Development Authority “to enhance customs efficiency and administration.”
The proposed new body will still be under the Department of Finance.
Among the proposed powers and functions of the new body are:
-assess and collect customs revenues;
-simplify and harmonize customs procedures to facilitate movement of goods in international trade;
-prevent entry of smuggled goods through border control;
-prevent and suppress smuggling and other customs fraud;
-supervise and control the entrance and clearance of vessels and aircrafts engaged in foreign commerce;
-exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over forfeiture cases under the bill;
-supervise and control all import and export cargoes, landed or stored in piers, airports, terminal facilities, including container yards and freight stations for the protection of government revenue and prevention of entry of contraband.
In October last year, the House ways and means committee recommended in its committee report the abolition of the BOC amid the controversy surrounding the shipment of the P6.4 billion worth of shabu through the Customs’ green lane.