BOC plans to revive 2 divisions

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) is looking to revive two divisions to increase its capability against smuggling and other illegal activities.

Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement Group Ariel Nepomuceno said he has ordered the conduct of a study on how to revive the water patrol division and radio communications group.

“I just instructed last week to conduct a formal study how to revive. But I think there is a need to revive these two divisions. I don’t know if the staff could come up with their report in 30 days. Of course, if they come up with the result, it would be subjected to the usual procurement study,” he said.

Nepomuceno noted that the bureau needs a radio communications department, as he believes that the bureau is one of the few agencies in the world that does not have such division.

“Maybe, we are one of the few enforcement group in the world that does not have tactical radio communications capability, we only use cellphones. Look at what happened in Tacloban when all systems fail because we don’t have tactical capability,” he said, referring to the damage sustained by communities and government offices from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last November.

A water patrol division, on the other hand, can help intercept illegal activities in the sea.

“If you have your own capability, you have nobody to blame; you will be personally accountable. That, for me, is the biggest advantage (of reviving the two divisions),” he said.

Nepomuceno said the plan would be the “right investment” for the bureau, which has been repeatedly criticized for failing to curb smuggling.

“I don’t have an information yet on the expenses, but if you would relate that to how much we are losing to smuggling. I think it is a right investment. Of course, we have to do it correctly,” the BOC official said.

Nepomuceno has no idea as to how many personnel were employed in the two divisions. (FP/Sunnex)

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