By: Nelson S. Badilla
SMUGGLING at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) remains rampant despite anti-smuggling BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon’s previous warning that he would shot to death corrupt BOC officials.
The warning appeared to be extremely highly threatening, but it turned it had a clear message on businessmen and smugglers.
Thus, smuggling remains rampant as smuggled goods are found in different places in Metro Manila, specifically in Divisoria, Baclaran, and Quiapo.
There are two reasons why smuggling stays.
First, corrupt officials are not afraid to enrich themselves because historically speaking, corrupt BOC officials have not been sent to jail, therefore, they were not punished.
Second, BOC is a milking cow of various officials, including the official who is serious to run for a powerful elective post on 2019 elections.
The concrete proof that smuggling is prevalent at the BOC despite President Rodrigo Duterte stern warning on corrupt government officials to mend their ways was the operation of BOC on Cuneta Avenue in Pasay City.
In the said operation, BOC people raided some warehouses where fake branded international products were placed.
The raid had a Letter of Authority (with reference no. 03-01-85-2017) from BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, thus, it was legal.
The problem was some BOC officials got some P200 Million from the businessmen who own the smuggled products.
The smuggling is a multibillion business as some P200 Billion leads to the pocket of corrupt BOC and Department of Finance (DOF) officials each year, according to the information that the camp of then presidential candidate Jejomar Binay had provided to the media during the campaign period.
If Binay’s data was true, then the new officials of BOC, particularly Nicanor Faeldon, have a gargantuan task in the bureau.
Analyzing how the BOC operates against smuggling, it appeared that there is a pattern.
The businessmen are allowed by BOC to get their products to get in despite its value was reduced.
Then, the BOC will conduct an operation against businessmen who managed to get their products out from BOC’s turf.
The BOC will set a raid based on the decision of the BOC Commissioner, which will create a “noise” in Baclaran stating that some unknown BOC officials earned millions in the anti-smuggling operation.
This money-making operation of some corrupt BOC officials under the pretext of anti-smuggling must be stopped by BOC officials themselves headed by former military man Nick Faeldon.
Faeldon, as I found out, was a highly-decorated military official.
One of his dreams as a Filipino soldier was for the Filipino people to have a clean government – that is literally no corruption.
Being BOC Commissioner, one of Faeldon’s most challenging tasks is to prevent a government official who is thinking a Senate run from getting multimillions from businessmen who sell smuggled products.
If Faeldon succeeds, he’s done with one of the BOC’s problems on smuggling.