Incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez asked outgoing Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina not to tie the hands of the Duterte administration in implementing Customs reforms.
Dominguez told reporters he called up Lina after learning that the agency was already preparing the implementing rules and regulations of the recently enacted Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
“I called Bert Lina [and] I told him, Bert, I heard you’re putting out the IRR for that new law. I said don’t tie my hands. I said you know, obviously I cannot tell you what to do, or what not to do, but I’ll tell you, I’ll look at it very badly if you tie my hands,” Dominguez said.
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte named Dominguez, a former agriculture secretary, as the new secretary of the Finance Department, in place of Cesar Purisima. Dominguez will oversee a powerful Cabinet position that will supervise both the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Customs Bureau.
“I told him [Lina] not to tie my hands. He can put it [IRR] out, but if he ties my hands, our hands, or Faeldon’s hands, that he [Faeldon] cannot do certain things, there’s going to be hell to pay,” Dominguez said.
Duterte recently named Nicanor Faeldon, a former Philippine Marines captain joined the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003, as the new commissioner of BOC, tagged as one of the most corrupt agencies in government.
Outgoing President Benigno Aquino III last week signed into law the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The newly-signed law or Republic Act 10863 will update the Tariff and Customs Code which was last amended in 1978 and will update the operations of the Bureau of Customs.
Next to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, BOC is the largest revenue-collecting agency of the government.
Among the reforms mandated by the new law are electronic processing of shipment of documents, streamlining of export and import procedures, simplified processes for seizure and disposition of illegal goods and steeper penalties for violations.
CMTA also includes exemption of employees of the BOC from the Salary Standardization Law to grant them relatively higher pay than most other government workers.
Another key provision is the increase in the de minimis value to P10,000 from P10 for articles brought into the country duty-free through the postal office, by courier companies, or by hand.
The measure provides for an automatic indexation of the amounts every three years to account for inflation.
The law also has a provision raising the amount of exemption for a balikbayan box to P150,000 from the previous P10,000. The same amount of exemption will be granted to returning overseas Filipino workers.
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