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The New BOC Steps Up Anti-Corruption Drive Via 1-Assessment

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The good men and women of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) remain steadfast in their commitment to get rid of corruption and rehabilitate the BOC. This was the core message of Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Dy, Head of the BOC’s Management Information System and Technology group (MISTG) during his presentation at the recently concluded 28th Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) annual convention held at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.

According to Dy: “A corrupt Customs will not deliver the revenue that is probably due to the state, will not be effective in the fight against smuggling and trafficking and will obstruct the growth of legitimate international trade.” To achieve this, Mr. Dy has pushed for the full implementation of 1-Assessment- a pioneering web based system in the BOC that removes official discretion; eliminates the Suki System; and, enforces accountability of brokers by tracking and making interactions auditable- all while providing ease of doing business with the BOC.

Dy states: “Since 1 – Assessment was piloted in the ports of Batangas, Subic, Clark, Surigao and Limay last November 5, I am happy to say there has been zero back log, despite the arrival of big volume of shipments. In stakeholders consultations, we have received good feedback- happy that they don’t have to go to the port because brokers can now monitor their entries digitally.”

Atty. Ferdinand A. Nague, National President of the CCBI said “ We are supporting the move of the BOC to automate the processes of the assessment. First for the lodgement of entry all the way that will serve the interest of our clients, our interest against corruption, and to further facilitate trade and in compliance with the ease of doing business of paperless infraction and no face to face contact.” When asked if brokers think the problems of customs brokers would be adressed by the implementation of 1 – Assessment, Atty. Nague replied “ Definitely the BOC processes in the assessment, collection and corruption, all those will be addressed. But the problem of port congestion is another matter. With the BOC perspective, the challenge now lies on the private sector to speed up their operations- from port operators and shipping lines- while we customs brokers need to also hasten our processes.”

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Convention participant Mary Lou Gesilva, Asst. Director, Competitiveness Bureau of the Department of Trade and Industry gave sterling feedback to 1-Assessment: “Hopefully we can include this 1 – Assessment in the 2020 innovation report to the World Bank so our ranking in the “Ease of Doing Business” increases.” Former Commisioner Alberto Lina, meanwhile, lauded 1 – Assessment , describing it as “disruptive and well thought of”.

Though he admitted that recent events at the BOC affected the full nationwide implementation of 1 – Assessment, Dy is hopefully that the BOC can roll-out 1-Assessment by February 2019. As this developed, Dy says plans are afoot to launch another anti-corruption project called i-Track, which will address the problem of pilferage among trucks in transit to and from the country’s free ports.

He cooperation of BOC stakeholders and the support of the Duterte Administration, 1 Assessment and the more modernized programs of the Bureau of Customs will be ready to face the challenges of the Customs Industry with vigor, confidence, and pride.

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