Lapeña assumes as new BOC chief, vows to curb corruption

Lapeña assumes as new BOC chief, vows to curb corruption

MANILA — Newly-installed Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Isidro Lapeña vowed to stop corruption and increase their revenue collection in compliance with marching orders from President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The marching order given to me by President Duterte is to address the perennial problems that have beset the BOC for years. My top priority – and it should be clear to everyone- is to do away with the culture of “pasalubong” and “tara”. Strictly “No gift and no take policy,” he said in his message during the turn over ceremony at the BOC port district in Manila on Wednesday.

Likewise, Lapeña said he will institute reforms for a more organized and systematic Customs administration to improve revenue collection efficiency, and also maintain close monitoring of inbound and outbound cargoes through formal channels to prevent smuggling.

“Similar to what I did with PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), I will implement a ‘one-strike policy’ to boost internal cleansing, which of course, shall be supported by intensified counter-intelligence efforts. I intend to give each of you a clean slate, so we can move forward. Just do your work. Prove your worth, and I will back you up. But once I receive reports of your involvement with corrupt practices and such reports are validated: I will not think twice. Pasensiyahan tayo,” Lapeña said.

At the same time, he warned those who are planning to use his name for their self-interests to stop plotting nefarious schemes.

“I am now issuing a stern warning to unscrupulous individuals who plan to use my name to collect money and/or ask favor/s to circumvent laws and regulations: I will get you. If anyone uses my name to facilitate unlawful activities, do not hesitate to apprehend them under citizen’s arrest and you will be given a reward. I will exercise zero tolerance against corruption in the bureau,” said Lapeña.

“I am also appealing to all stakeholders, especially the importers, to support and cooperate with us by adhering only to legitimate procedures. Part of our job is trade facilitation. Do not give us reasons to hold your shipment and I assure you that under my term as Customs Commissioner, we will collect what is legally proper and correct dues. No more “tara”. Do not be duped into becoming instruments that contribute to breeding corruption in the bureau,” Lapeña added.

He also sought support and cooperation from the BOC employees.

“To my BOC family, I seek your support and cooperation. Help me do my job. I cannot do it alone. I need everyone to be on board with me. I still believe that many good men and women remain here in the bureau. Do not let the unscrupulous few continue to destroy the name of the BOC. If you are not with me, step aside because I am looking to steamroll major changes across the bureau,” the new BOC chief said.

Also present during the turn over ceremony were outgoing Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon, Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary Antonette Tiongco, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other officials and employees of the bureau. with Diana Bando (OJT)/