It’s “Friday, After 5 PM” business as usual in BOC-Davao Port office

june 8, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Many flashy cars were still parked inside the ground premises of the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Davao office at Sasa, Davao City after 5 P.M. Friday, and a lot of people still roamed inside and outside its gate, although many said “hinay ang shipment karong semanaha (the volume of shipment of imports is low this week).”

Transactions were still going on past 5 P.M., with several persons in folders in tow riding on taxis or their own vehicles arriving either entering the BOC-Davao gate or parking to unload passengers just infront it.

A female makeshift tienda operator Maria (not her real name) said in vernacular, “the transactions every Friday after 5 P.M. business will last even up to 10 P.M.”

“Giwala na man ang mga haosiao kagahapon (The haosiaos were got rid of yesterday),” she added.

Haosiao in the definition of a memorandum issued by BOC Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon on May 21, 2013, refers to “any person purporting to be a customs employee and performing functions of Bureau of Customs personnel, whether or not under the direction or with the permission from BOC officials/employees.”

Biazon’s memorandum entitled “prohibition on the use of non-organic and non-organic contractual personnel”, took effect last June 1 and directed all deputy commissioners, service directors, district collectors, sub-port collectors and division chiefs nationwide “not to utilize or engage the services of persons or group of persons who are not organic personnel or have no existing contract of service with the Bureau to perform his functions and responsibilities or the functions and responsibilities of any Bureau staff.”

Haosioas are usually the importers errands, or those persons informally brokering or those hired by BOC personnel in the bata-bata system to do the facilitating and processing of papers for the speedy approval and undervaluing of shipment documents in exchange for grease money, said an informant who said he has been “legally” transacting with the BOC-Davao office for quite sometime now although he is not a licensed customs broker.

“Maigo gyod mi anang memorandum ni Biazon, makulob among kaldero (We’ll surely be hit by Biazon’s memorandum. Our family will go hungry),” he added, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

BOC-Davao OIC district collector lawyer Edward James Dy Buco said in an interview afternoon Friday said that the haosiao problem in his port is “minimal” compared to the port in Manila.

“However, we’re on the process of eliminating it and we double time to implement the Commissioner’s directive pursuant to the BOC Code of Conduct in the CMO-25-2010,” he said.

He admitted that those informally brokering for shipments have helped BOC in the processing of requirements only that they were reported to have abused in asking money from importers.

Meanwhile, Dy Buco reported that for the month of May 2013 the BOC-Port of Davao exceeded its target collection by 2 percent with its total cash collection of P506.19 million.

Reports said that thousands of haosiaos swarmed in Manila port and about 300 haosiaos combined in the ports in Cebu and Davao.

“For decades, the BOC is being hounded by non-organic, non-contractual personnel. Some of these held sensitive tasks in the bureau, but in fairness, many are doing clerical and utility tasks which the bureau failed to augment in decades. Definitely, this order will paralyze the operations of each office and unit in the bureau as haosiao personnel are the ones immersed on the tasks and not the regular employees,” said Rico Osmena, a long-time portwatcher, columnist of a weekly.

“However, it’s time to get rid of many big-headed haosiao personnel who have enriched themselves by the use of authority given to them by the Customs officials. This order is seen a major reform of BOC particularly in cleansing it with corrupt officials and personnel, and eradicating smuggling. We’ll wait and see,” Osmena added.

In BOC-Davao office premises, talks about an impending re-shuffling in the Bureau in the coming June 15 were heard. The name of Port of Manila District Collector Rogel Gatchalian was mentioned as possible replacement of BOC Davao district collector lawyer Martiniano Bangcoy, who is on leave at press time. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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