MANILA — Major reorganization was implemented in the Bureau of Customs including the installation of its new head, Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla.
The new chief of the bureau was a former undersecretary for Corporate Affairs Group and Privatization of the Department of Finance, succeeding former Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, who served as the BOC head for two years.
Aside from the changes in the leadership, all of the bureau’s Deputy Commissioners have been replaced.
The new top officials of the bureau are: former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Jesse Dellosa, as the new Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Enforcement Group; Agaton Teodoro Uvero, DepCom for Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group; former Department of Budget and Management director Myrna Chua as DepCom for Internal Administration Group, National Tax and Research Center executive director Trinidad Rodriguez as the new DepCom for Revenue Collection Monitoring Group and Primo Aguas as new head of Management Information Systems and Technology Group.
The reshuffle in the roster of officials in the bureau also affected 27 senior collectors of the bureau, after they were ordered transferred to Customs Policy Research Office, which is under the DOF, through Customs Personnel Order (CPO) No. B-189-2013.
Some of the transferred officials have challenged the order before a Manila court. The court has initially stopped the implementation of the CPO but it was eventually imposed.
The transfer paved the way for the appointment of officer-in-charge in 17 ports namely: Port of San Fernando La Union — Collector Leovigildo M. Dajoya, Port of Manila — Antonio Meliton Pascual, Manila International Container Port — Dr. Nerza A. Rebustes, Ninoy Aquino International Airport — Collector Reynaldo Galeno, Port of Batangas — Chuchi Medina, Port of Legaspi — Collector Ernelito Aquino, Port of Iloilo — Collector Paul Alcazaren, Port of Cebu and Collector Julius Premediles, Port of Tacloban.
Also named heads of the other ports are: Collector Cesar Tugday, Port of Surigao; Collector Ruby Claudia Alameda, Port of Cagayan de Oro; Darwisha Shuck, Port of Zamboanga; Collector Samsom Pacasum, Port of Davao; Collector Lucila Medina, Port of Subic; Collector Oswaldo Geli, Port of Clark; Collector Antonio Ferraren II, Port of Aparri; and Collector Elvira Cruz, Port of Limay.
The restructuring in the bureau is part of the government’s effort to get rid it of corruption and illegal activities, which marred the agency for a long time.
Initially, Sevilla was appointed to head the bureau for only two months, but he was permanently appointed to the post on December 12.
Among his latest actions as the new head of the agency was the signing of 29 CPOs, which aims to rationalize personnel headcount of all offices and units of the agency last December 16.
The order will move 228 regular employees from their present positions as part of continuing efforts to reform the bureau.
The orders cover 3,336 plantilla, but only 228 personnel are to be transferred from one Group or Collection District to another.
A Technical Working Group has reviewed the entire bureau’s organization and manpower structure before making the necessary personnel adjustments.
Under the previous leadership, the bureau has apprehended a number of smuggling attempts among them are agricultural products such as onions and rice; used-clothing, used cars, cellphones, electronics etc.
The biggest haul for 2013 as far as agricultural product is concerned was the apprehension of an estimated 500,000 sacks of rice worth P1.2 billion last April, misdeclared as stone slabs, ceiling insulator slabs, granite slabs and wall insulator slabs.
The shipments came from Vietnam and were consigned to several trading firms.
On the other hand, as of December 5, a total of 112 smuggling cases have been filed by the BOC against private individuals while 157 smuggling cases were filed under the RATS program since the term of President Benigno Aquino began.
Meanwhile, Sevilla vowed to continue the reforms already instituted in the bureau.
Among them is to improve the use of 100 percent utilized the electronic transaction in the bureau, as he was told that some of the ports and sub ports have yet to use it.
He will also look into the accreditation process for importers and brokers. (PNA story by Ferdinand G. Patinio)