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Author Topic: OFW Congressman Presents Roadmap for Real Change at Customs  (Read 399 times)

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OFW Congressman Presents Roadmap for Real Change at Customs
« on: September 02, 2017, 10:25:06 AM »
OFW SOLON PRESENTS ROADMAP FOR REAL CHANGE AT CUSTOMS
By Rep. Aniceto “John” D. Bertiz
ACTS-OFW Party-list
 
Three-Pronged Approach:
 
Building a New Bureau from the Ground Up
 
Continuity of Customs Operations via International Bidding of All Customs Operations & Implementation of All Customs Operations by the Winning Bidder for Five to Ten Years
 
Sorting the Bad from the Good
 
Components:
 
North Stars: The Revised Arusha Declaration of 2003 & Revised Kyoto Convention of 1999
 
The Unsustained Philippine Customs Reform Era of 1992-1998
 
Corporatization of the Bureau of Customs
 
Breathing and Reform Space: The Internationalization of Customs Operations
 
First Things First
 
What will happen to the current personnel of the Bureau of Customs?
 
We will not tolerate violation of Civil Service Laws and Regulations. We will continue to uphold and observe them. At the Bureau of Customs, the good are mixed in with the bad. That is the problem.
 
What we will do is transfer all personnel of the current Bureau of Customs into a Customs Human Resource Assets Administration. There will be no reduction in pay and benefits. Their pay and benefits will stay the same.
 
CHRAA will be tasked to cleanse the transferred personnel of all the corrupt, incompetent, and undesirables. It will conduct a vetting process and lifestyle check on each and every personnel. No one will be spared.
 
Current customs personnel who do not want to transfer will be allowed early retirement, but before they retire, they will still undergo a lifestyle check to make sure anyone liable for corruption and incompetence among them will be held liable because we cannot reward corruption and incompetence with early retirement benefits.
 
This same process of creating another entity for the sorting of assets was the same approach adopted by the government when it reformed the Central Bank into the Bangko Sentral. This same process was also adopted when the old National Power Corporation was reformed through the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.
 
A new entity was created to manage the debts that burdened the old Central Bank. In this situation with the Bureau of Customs, we do not have the same kind of liabilities, but what we have are people—the good and bad mixed in together—and they need sorting out.
 
In the EPIRA Law, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Corporation (PSALM) was tasked to manage the troublesome assets and liabilities that burdened the NAPOCOR.
 
Yes, a bill is necessary for this and that is already in the works.
 
North Stars: The Revised Arusha Declaration of 2003 & Revised Kyoto Convention of 1999
 
The Revised Arusha Declaration of 2003 & Revised Kyoto Convention of 1999 are the two key international standards on customs administration worldwide. We only need to adhere to them and stand by our commitments on these standards.
 
The good people in the Bureau of Customs are well aware of these two North Stars. These North Stars give us hope that reforming the Customs in the Philippines is possible because these North Stars guide us to the benchmarks, best practices, and global standards.
 
Herewith as annexes are backgrounders on the Revised Arusha Declaration of 2003 & Revised Kyoto Convention of 1999.
 
Philippine Customs Commission
 
This is the missing element in the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act of 2016. With the Philippine Customs Commission, we build a new Customs agency. A new law on this will, of course, be needed.
 
Aside from the CHRAA, there shall be a Philippines Customs Commission. The PCC will have a new role. It will be like the current Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System as mandated by Republic Act 8041 or the Water Crisis Act. The MWSS now sets policies but the operation of water and sewerage systems are with concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad Water.
 
Needed to undertake the daily tasks of customs operations are corporations, to be listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, that will deliver customs services under the watchful eyes of the investing public, civil society organizations, and stakeholders.
 
These Customs Operations Corporations will be the concessionaires and be partly government owned, not fully government owned. The core competence area of the private sector is efficiency and effectiveness of operations. That is not the competence area of government. of governmental role must focus on policy, national security, and law enforcement. Majority ownership and control is not necessary to ensure that the Customs Operations Corporations follow the policies of the PCC. At least thirty-five percent ownership would suffice. The remainder of the shares will be sold in the stock market.
 
Breathing and Reform Space: The Internationalization of Customs Operations
 
While the Customs Operations Corporations are being put together, we need to bring in quick solutions and this need will be addressed, following our Build Operate and Transfer Laws and relevant laws, by bidding out the day to day Customs operations.
 
This bidding shall be international and it shall not follow the lowest bid approach. We shall take some cues from the reform measures on Government Procurement and Bidding now undertaken by the Duterte Administration.
 
Our country has many experts in international business law, corporate law, customs, and tariffs. We shall seek their counsel on how to work out the details of this.
 
The Unsustained Philippine Customs Reform Era of 1992-1998
 
Reform had some opportunity to set in at the Bureau of Customs from 1992 to 1998. This was during the Ramos Administration when the leadership of the Bureau had formidable political backing from President Ramos and his economic and security advisers.
 
But the reform was not sustained. The corrupt in the Bureau just stayed in the shadows and waited for the Ramos Administration to exit. Then it was back to old business.
 
Much of the modernization the Customs Bureau has experienced had their roots or origins in the 1992-1998 time frame.
 
The reforms back then were internationally recognized and applauded. Unfortunately, they were not sustained.
 
Avoiding the mistakes of the past involves learning the lessons of reforms, particularly those implemented for Central Banking and for Higher Education, as well as good governance practices in place in companies listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange.
 
The Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas was given a fixed term that provides ample protection from changes in the national leadership’s appointing authority and influencers.
 
The same was done at the Commission on Higher Education where the CHED Chairman and Commissioners have fixed terms of office similar to that of the Bangko Sentral Governor.
 
The laws of the Bangko Sentral and CHED provide for quality assurance as regards who get to be appointed. Their charters have stringent qualifications.
 
Companies listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange are required to have Independent Members in the board of directors. This practice shall be adopted into the Philippine Customs Commission and the Customs Operations Corporations that will eventually run day to day customs functions.
 
Finally, we shall revive the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) and place it either under the Department of Finance or the Bangko Sentral. The Intelligence and Investigation Units of the current Bureau of Customs will be transferred to the EIIB.  We shall also transfer to the EIIB the intelligence and investigation functions and offices of agencies that are concerned with going after counterfeiters, perpetrators of business scams and industrial espionage.
Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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