Purisima meets with transferred Customs execs
MANILA, Philippines – Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima met with senior officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to explain their recent transfer to another office as part of an ongoing revamp at the agency.
Purisima, accompanied by other officials of the Department of Finance (DOF), clarified concerns surrounding the transfer of 27 BOC collectors to the Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO).
“I need you to do this. You are the best resource people to take on this job because of your long experience and institutional knowledge of the Bureau of Customs. These reforms are urgent,” Purisima told the officials.
Purisima stressed the importance of reforms in the bureau, saying outdated laws and policies have cost the BOC losses of around P200 billion in revenues.
The Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, the primary law that empowers the BOC, has remained virtually the same since 1957.
“We need data to set the baseline for customs collections. It is important that we do this now with all the rapid changes in the global trading environment. We need metrics and accurate information for analysis and identification of revenue loss areas so that we can plug the loopholes,” said Purisima.
The meeting was held amid cases pending before the courts.
Eleven of the 27 officials transferred to CPRO filed a case before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) questioning the validity of the transfer order.
The DOF and the BOC also filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to stop the Manila RTC from acting on the bid of district collectors citing lack of jurisdiction.
At least 20 of the 27 transferred Customs officials have reported to the CPRO. Two of the collectors have retired while another collector resigned.