Lina eyes leaner BOC workforce
A LEAN but better-compensated workforce will be one solution to the problem of widespread corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), according to Commissioner Alberto D. Lina.
In a telephone interview last Friday, Lina said he believed that subjecting BOC personnel to a compensation system that highly rewards stellar performance while also penalizing lousy work was “50 percent of the solution” to the agency’s problems with regards corrupt employees.
“I’m not saying that if you have low pay then you should be corrupt. But let’s face it: when workers don’t earn enough and their families get hungry, some of them resort to corrupt practices. Many of our employees bring home only P20,000 a month, and it’s not enough. If we raise their salaries, it will help reduce corruption,” Lina explained.
In this regard, the BOC chief said he himself would lobby before Congress to exempt the agency’s personnel from the salary standardization law (SSL), which mandates a cap on government employees’ pay.
Lina said he wanted to personally talk to Marikina City Rep. Romero Federico “Miro” S. Quimbo and Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara, who chairs the House as well as Senate ways and means committees, respectively, so that an exemption of BOC employees from the SSL could still be inputted into the proposed customs modernization and tariff act or CMTA.
But Lina also said that jobs at the BOC should as well be rationalized so that non-organic customs functions may instead be outsourced.
Higher pay for a leaner and better performing workforce would be win-win for the agency, he noted, adding that “under the attrition law, you can demand better performance from workers.”
The BOC currently has about 3,600 personnel, Lina said.
The comprehensive tax reform package being pitched by the Department of Finance for President Aquino’s approval was reportedly seeking autonomy for the BOC and also the Bureau of Internal Revenue from the SSL, to benchmark the length of tenure as well as salaries of the two tax-collection agencies’ workers with their respective performance. Ben O. de Vera
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.