Pres. Duterte urges BoC to step up drive vs smuggling, illegal drugs

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte urged on Wednesday the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to strengthen further their operations against smuggling and illegal drugs.

“As the BOC is at the frontline of our campaign against smuggling and illegal drugs, I encourage you to beef up your Customs enforcement operations,” the President told the BoC workforce during its 115th founding anniversary celebrations at Port of Manila.

President Duterte promised his full support in improving BoC’s law enforcement capabilities “so you can conduct operations more effectively and efficiently.”

To deter criminal and illegal activities, the BoC has installed CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras in strategic places around the Port Area of Manila and the BoC building.

“With the combined efforts of its leadership, its employees, the private sector, and the Filipino people, I am hopeful that the Bureau of Customs will no longer be tagged as among the most corrupt agencies in the coming years,” President Duterte said.

President Duterte urged the BoC officials lead by Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to go after their own colleagues who still engage in illegal activities.

“This is the only way to revitalize the Bureau of Customs and, therefore, our people’s trust in government,” Duterte said.

The former Davao City mayor said he committed himself “to give the nation a respite of wrongdoing.”

“I’m sorry for those who will be affected,” President Duterte said.

President Duterte also directed the BoC family to find ways to improve its operations, simplify procedures and centralize operations, “particularly in the areas of trade facilitation and border control so that they can keep hitting and exceeding targets in the coming years.”

“Revenues give us the means to run government and provide crucial services to our people. As the money collected by the Bureau of Customs counts for a significant chunk of government earnings, we have to be relentless in our drive to maintain credible, efficient, and effective Customs Bureau,” he said.

President Duterte also urged the BoC officials and employees to live simply and do not engage into corruption to earn money.

“Do not dream of things which beyond your reach. You’ll be tempted to enter there (corruption),” President Duterte said.

BoC Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco reported that the bureau seized PHP1.266 billion worth of illegal drugs.

In campaign against smuggling, Buco said the amount of smuggled goods reached PHP2.2 billion from August 2016 up to January this year.