Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered the Bureau of Customs to help curb provincial smuggling operations with regional inter-agency task forces.
In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Dominguez told Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to create inter-agency task forces to strengthen anti-smuggling efforts in the provinces, during an executive committee meeting.
"We would like the cooperation between the BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue] and the Customs to go down to the regional level. They have to be meeting regularly on the regional level, not only in the national headquarters (in Manila)," Dominguez told Lapeña.
Domniguez said the BOC and the BIR must cooperate in regional anti-smuggling operations since most illegally obtained goods are being sold outside Metro Manila.
Reinforcing the anti-smuggling efforts is part of Lapeña’s five-point program unveiled after he assumed office.
Lapeña’s program includes stopping corruption within the BOC; increasing revenues; ensuring trade facilitation; and enhancing personnel incentives, rewards system and compensation benefits for personnel.
Lapeña has since implemented a “one-strike” policy at the BOC and surprise inspections in Manila ports.
He has yet to implement the BOC personnel lifestyle checks, and the removal of benchmarking, a practice that allows imposition of discretionary values on goods.