EDITORIAL: More than the money

NEWLY installed Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña has vowed to do everything so that his agency will be able to meet its target in revenues.

Lapeña, who spent part of his police career in the city and in the region, is known for his being a strict official as well as someone who always puts a premium on following the law.

Admitting that it “would take a lot of efforts” to be able to hit the target, the retired police general has ordered that all ports be monitored on the daily basis, particularly the value of collections so that the target will be met.

This is because, based on the report, the agency was only able to collect during the first eight months of the year just about half of its annual P468 million target.

The agency has been hogging the headlines after it was the subject of lawmakers’ inquiries particularly on how a P6.4 billion worth of shabu was able to elude agency examiners and was only seized inside a warehouse.

Based on initial reports, the reason for the shabu controversy was the mechanisms of the agency in identifying cargoes as there are lanes assigned to cargoes that are questionable, but those behind the entry of the prohibited substance took advantage of the carelessness in the agency.

Others believed that the contraband was able to pass through the meticulous checking system of the agency because of grease money which has become so prevalent that any well-meaning employee would find himself or herself being gobbled up by the system unless he or she resigns and keeps quiet.

Lapeña, instead of focusing on the collections, must provide more attention to the porous system of the agency and address the gaps. The collections, if the loopholes are plugged, will eventually follow.

Corruption in the agency can be eliminated if only a well-meaning individual is the one running it. It is now time for Lapeña to prove that he is the person for the job because he is known as someone who can do it.

Posted in Opinion