By Gloria Jane Baylon
With tons of hope that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will have exorcised itself of the demons of graft and corruption in six months, the chief of its International Affairs said recently that the agency would then be a “step forward” to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) envisioned by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
John Simon, head of BOC’s International Affairs Office, admitted before a seminar on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that, yes, the BOC —- as the first point of contact of a country’s international trade —- has a lot of downplaying to do as far as its performance and image are concerned. “The demands on Customs is indeed terribly great,” he said.
”Most encounters (with Customs) with trade are very discouraging because many in Customs do not realize that a slow, inept, corrupt, unreliable, inconsistent, incompetent, untrained (agency) can just easily be bypassed by potential investors and this means another lost opportunity to contribute to the economic development of the land.
”This is precisely the reason why we are always emphasizing the prime importance of governance and integrity as the key towards the transformation of a new Philippine customs,” he said.