As he took office on Wednesday, newly appointed Customs Commissioner Isidro “Sid” Lapeña said everyone can expect major changes at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in compliance with the marching order from President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Stop corruption and increase revenue earnings, this was the marching order I received from the President last August 22, 2017,” Lapeña said during the turnover ceremony.
According to Lapeña, the President asked him to address the perennial problems that have beset the bureau for long years.
“I will start with a clean slate for everybody. I will work within the organization and utilize officers and personnel who are already knowledgeable and experienced in the Customs processes,” the Customs chief said.
Lapeña, however, said that he would assign new faces in some positions to help him introduce transformative measures into an old system which has been corrupted.
Similar with what he did to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Lapeña said he would implement “one-strike” policy to ‘boost internal cleansing’. Lapeña stated that he will remove officials who are found involved in corruption following a validation process.
“Just do your work, prove your work and I will back you up. But once I received reports of your involvement with corrupt practices and such reports are validated, I will not think twice, pasensyahan tayo [I’m sorry],” Lapeña stressed.
“My top priority should be clear to everyone—it is to do away with the culture of “pasalubong” and “tara”, strictly “no gift and no take” policy,” the Customs chief added.
Meanwhile, Lapeña said he is now issuing a “stern warning” against individuals who plan to use his name to collect money and/or ask favors to circumvent laws and regulations.
Lapeña also said that he would prioritize the computerization of Customs procedures and establish a 24-hour feedback mechanism.
The new Customs commissioner asked for the support and cooperation of all officials in the bureau to help him implement his reforms and regain public trust and confidence.