President Rodrigo Duterte attended the 115th founding anniversary of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as he urged its employees to improve operations to collect more revenues.
“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,” the President said in his speech during the event held at the BOC compound in Manila on Wednesday, February 8.
BOC’s anniversary theme, “United Towards Transformational Change,” runs parallel with government’s program to institute real and lasting change in the bureaucracy and society, the President said, adding that it is also reflective of the changes taking place in the BOC today.
As long as the people put their minds to the tasks at hand and remain committed to serve the Filipino people, they can achieve their goals, the President said.
“Thus, I urge the agency to continue to find ways to improve its operations; continue to 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,” he said.
Duterte said he expects the BOC to keep collaborating with its foreign counterparts by exchanging information and finding more avenues of cooperation.
As a frontline agency of government’s campaign against smuggling and illegal drugs, the President encouraged the BOC to beef up its enforcement operations.
“You have my full support in developing the BOC’s law enforcement capabilities. And so you can conduct these operations more effectively and efficiently,” he said.
Part of BOC’s efforts to improve operations and deter criminal and illegal activities is the installation of CCTV cameras in strategic locations, around the Port Area of Manila, and the BOC building.
The video footage could be viewed live stream online so the people can see the BOC operations in real time, the President said.
President Duterte said he is hopeful that the Bureau will no longer be tagged as among the most corrupt agencies in the future with the efforts of the BOC leadership and the private sector, and the Filipino people.
At the same time, the President said he hopes BOC personnel would help him cleanse the Bureau of erring employees.
“This is the only way to revitalize the Bureau of Customs and, therefore, our people’s trust in government,” he said.
The President also promised to increase the compensation of BOC personnel to motivate them to do their job well. He also expressed his gratitude to BOC for its contribution to government’s revenue collection.
Duterte said the country has been facing several major concerns such as illegal drugs, the communist threat and Islamic extremism.
“There’s a war going on in the Central Mindanao. So that’s the bigger problem. I would need money to buy the equipment and the things that they would need to keep this country in order,” the President said.###PND