Senate set to tackle corruption in Customs

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Monday, January 27, 2014


SENATOR Juan Edgardo Angara is set to hear Tuesday a measure aiming to curb corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The committee will also conduct an inquiry, as sought by Senate Resolution 444, on the study conducted by the Federation of Philippine Industries, which revealed that the government lost more than P1.33 trillion in revenue from 2002 to 2011 due to technical smuggling through the country's ports.

"We are talking about more than a trillion pesos here—more than a trillion pesos that could have been used to help millions of Filipinos to rise above poverty. We should put an end to this," Angara said.

"Although enforcement is largely a fight of the executive branch, we are prioritizing these anti-smuggling measures so Congress can aid the government in the fight and we want to ensure that they have the weapons to do so and are not unduly hampered," said Angara.

Among the proposed measures that will be tackled are the customs and tariff modernization bill and different versions of anti-smuggling bills.

The committee has invited Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Customs Commissioner John Sevilla, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, among other personalities to be resource speakers for Tuesday's hearing.

"While the committee on agriculture investigates into the prevalence of rice smuggling in light of reports of payoffs involving Customs officials and identification of alleged smugglers, our committee is focused on formulating and strengthening legislation to curb, if not eliminate, smuggling and corruption in the country," Angara said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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