BOC chief: Release problem-free shipments in 5 hours

MANILA, Philippines – Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon has set a 5-hour deadline for the release of shipments backed up by all documentary requirements.

Faeldon gave the directive when he addressed Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials and employees on Thursday, July 7, as he marked his first week in office.

"I want their commodity to be released within 5 working hours. As long as all their documents are okay, I can't imagine why it can't be released within 5 hours," he told the BOC. 

Anticipating complaints about his order, the new Customs chief said: "Those of you who don't think that this is doable, come to my office and explain to me why. But I want this to be done within 5 hours. We will do our part as fast and diligently as we could so that the Bureau will not be criticized."

He added: "Kung bago mo issuehan ng permit 'yan ay nasatisfy niya na 'yung requirements, e di walang congestion! Kasi sigurado tayong makukuha niya 'yung commodity (If they satisfied the requirements before you issue a permit, then there will be no congestion! Because it means they would surely get the commodity)."

Faeldon demanded the speedier release of shipments amid the continued complaints of some importers about the slow processing in major ports in the country.

The slow release of shipments leads to further port congestion, jacks up the transportation costs of these goods, and hampers productivity. It also drives up inflation, as seen in August 2014, when the congestion problem in the Manila port caused a food price spike in Metro Manila.

Faeldon, one of the alleged leaders of the botched Oakwood mutiny against the Arroyo administration in 2003, had earlier told BOC officials and employees that he would focus on reforming, and not firing people, at the bureau which is perceived to be one of the most corrupt agencies in the country.

He had tapped at least 20 former mutineers from the Magdalo group to join the BOC for jobs requiring "outdoor functions." –