In a move that took a long time coming President Rodrigo Duterte finally acted on the stench of corruption that has permeated the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for decades.
It is already an open secret that the owners of cargoes passing thru the BOC are “persuaded” to dole out cash to guarantee the safe passage and entry of their shipment into the country.
This is especially so for big time smugglers who are always on the lookout for some naïve personnel of the BOC whom they can corrupt.
But that was some years back, now a lot of BOC personnel are the ones on the lookout for shipments that are questionable or which might contain contraband and offer their dirty services to insure the safe passed of the smuggled goods.
The 52 alleged corrupt personnel of the BOC that was recently called to Malacanang to a meeting with the President is just the tip of the iceberg.
Most of those who were put on floating status are already under suspension or have been administratively charged for improper conduct.
But putting these 52 personnel on floating status or even removing them from service is not enough, considering that their replacements will just be offered the same golden opportunity and temptation to be the next corrupt personnel of the BOC.
What the President should do is call out the BOC to put up more security measures in its system to deter both the corrupt BOC personnel or even officer and the shipper of the cargo from carrying out a corrupt transaction.
For one all cargos that go through the BOC should be tagged by radio frequency identification (RFID) and GPS. This will guarantee of its identity as a shipment that will pass through the BOC and establish its location. The next step is to put up a central command center where all manner of cargos, goods and products scheduled to pass thru customs are displayed.
It does not matter whether these are in enclosed containers or in warehouses. What is important is that at any given time the BOC has knowledge of these shipments in real time. The same will be done with all those purporting to be owners or shippers of the cargos.
Their identities should likewise be put on full display at the said central command center for easy verification. What is actually needed is an overhaul of the entire system and operation of the BOC since the present system is in itself already a mechanism that facilitates corruption.
Finally, here are the names of the 52 alleged corrupt personnel who met with Digong in Malacanang: Datu Samson Pacasum, Alya Malawani, Ma. Chona Sarte, Moctar Ibrahim, Zacaria Ali, Rolando Garcia, Erwin Xander Bautista, Salem Gani, Helen Grace Sevidal, Alladin Andig, Evan Sano, Esmael Umpa, Loth Ubay-Ubay, Jose Tagarda, Janefa Dianalan, Pedro Amante, Jr., Abdulcader Guro, Nafisah Baguinda, Golfredo Cahulogan, Cao Malic, Manginngin
Macawadib, Lamontod Macabando, Ramon Anquilan, Vincent Michael Intong, Gerardo Macatangay, Alfonso Reyes, Pandi Hadji Nasser, Ramon Hernandez, Raymund Cabigon, Gil Senen Gamil, Vicente Gamboa, Antonio Meliton Pascual, Gira Atendido, Ma. Corazon Andal, Maria Dyan Sofia Balite, Ma. Rosario Acosta, Rhodora de Gracia, Leah Aquino, Dante Baleva Jr., Joseph Jason Dimayuga, Lyoso Martinez, Vicente Eduardo Torres, Oscar Farin, Jury Jalani, Renly Tinana, Mimosa Maghanoy, Jorge Bacani, Florante Ricarte, Jaybee Raul Cometa, Vanzandi Remonde, Dolores Domingo and Lt. Filomeno Salazar. (source of names: Manila Times online)