Military control in Customs 'not the perfect solution' - Mangaoang

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2018 11:56 AM | Updated as of Oct 29 2018 03:33 PM

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MANILA - Putting the Bureau of Customs under military control would not be the "perfect solution" for the agency, Deputy Collector Lourdes Mangaoang said Monday.

Mangaoang, who alleged former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña ignored her report that x-ray machines detected drugs inside 4 magnetic lifters, said the agency's previous experience with military men did not work well.

"It’s not the complete solution. It may partly be a good one, but it is not the perfect solution. Temporary maybe, but not the long-term," she told ANC's Headstart.

During the Aquino administration, with Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla at the helm of Customs, retired military generals were designated as deputy commissioner for intelligence and district collectors, but the agency "never hit the target for 27 months," she said.

Mangaoang also cited a World Bank report which suggested that the volume of smuggled goods was at its "highest" during the Aquino administration, at about $19 billion--about 5 times higher than the $3.9 billion during the 9 years of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

There was also port congestion "for the first time" under the watch of former President Benigno Aquino III, said Mangaoang.

"Yung military men na ginawang district collectors ay incompetent sa Customs. Magaling sila sa military, but when it comes to Customs procedures, ang tagal nilang mag-release ng goods, alert sila nang alert," she said.

In a speech on Sunday, Duterte said there "will be a takeover of the Armed Forces in the matter of operating, in the meantime, while we are sorting out how to effectively meet the challenges of corruption in this country."

He also installed former AFP Chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero to replace Lapeña, a former senior police official, as the Customs commissioner.