Customs hiring people, going ‘paperless’ in ’15 | Inquirer Business
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Customs hiring people, going ‘paperless’ in ’15

/ 04:51 AM September 04, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–The Bureau of Customs wants to fill up 700 more vacancies even as applicants for some 1,000 positions undergo further screening.

Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla on Wednesday told business leaders that an overly lean work force was just one manifestation of the bureau’s lack of resources.

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“We are understaffed, our IT (information technology) system is so 20th century and our processing (methods) are so 19th century,” Sevilla said.

He was keynote speaker during the general membership meeting of the Federation of Philippine Industries held at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila in Makati City.

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The customs chief said that, during his international trips representing the country in customs conventions, he made an informal survey and found out that globally, the ratio of employee to a country’s population averaged at one to 5,000.

“Here in the Philippines, the ratio is 1:27,000,” Sevilla said. “That is not even half of the 1:10,000 average in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, excluding the Philippines.”

Data from the Bureau of Customs showed that the agency has 3,600 employees, or just over half of the BOC’s plantilla size of 7,000 positions.

Sevilla said that public response to the BOC’s effort to hire 1,056 new employees have been overwhelming.

However, even as recruitment of much-needed people is proving to be promising—if only based on the number of applicants—needs on other fronts become even more evident.

“On the day that we made the announcement (for the 1,056 positions), our website crashed because our network could not accommodate the volume of site visits,” Sevilla said.

He said applications reached about 7,000 and some 6,000 passed the first cut.

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According to the BOC, the number was further whittled down to 4,755, representing those who qualified for a pre-employment, general ability examination that was administered by the Civil Service Commission last Aug. 31.

Those who passed the exams would undergo further tests, this time meant to evaluate the applicants’ personality, interest, aptitude and values.

The agency hopes that successful applicants would have started working by December.

The application process for the additional 700 positions is slated for 2015.

As for the bureau’s IT resources, Sevilla said there was a lack of even a basic desktop computer. For example, 200 people in the Port of Manila’s assessment staff are sharing 30 computer terminals.

He said the BOC’s goal now was to do away with manual processing, which resulted in 8 cubic meters of documents daily.

“We want to go paperless by 2015,” he said. “We want the filing of documents fully electronic so you don’t have to come to our office, and you can get your shipment clearance in four hours.”

“More importantly, online processing would mean that no importer would know who is assessing your shipment and thereby eliminating the opportunity for bribery,” he added, eliciting applause from an audience that included many importers.

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs, Business, customs, Employment, hiring, jobs at customs, John P. Sevilla, paperless customs, Philippines
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