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How to stop corruption at BoC? Remove drawers, install CCTV

Tables without drawers, uniform without pockets, 24-7 CCTV, constant lifestyle checks, value-formation seminars. These are but some of the recommendations of Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo to address corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
“We have to be creative, exhaust all possible means short of firing all BoC officials and employees and starting with a fresh slate,” said Castelo.
“Some of these would appear somewhat cosmetic, but we have to come out with even the most unconventional means to stop corruption at the BoC,” said Castelo, who chairs the House committee on Metro Manila development.
Castelo said a 24-7 CCTV system that can be monitored on-line by Malacañang, the Department of Finance, Office of the Ombudsman and Congress can do much to deter corruption at the BoC.
“The technology exists, and if we really want to clean up the Bureau, we should do this. The returns would be greater in terms of added revenues and the end of smuggling — including that of prohibited drugs,” he noted.
Castelo said tables at the BoC should have no drawers and be made of glass if possible so officials and employees will have no place to hide bribes.
“Those drawers have become a symbol of corruption at the Bureau,” Castelo noted.
BoC employees should also be required to wear uniforms with no pockets, similar to a measure instituted by Pagcor among casino employees to discourage them from pocketing or hiding chips.
Castelo also proposed that all walls in the BoC offices be made of glass so that everyone can see what each is doing.
He also proposed an institutionalized system of lifestyle checks, including requiring all BOC officials and the employees to waive the secrecy of their bank accounts.
“This way we can monitor unusual deposits in their bank accounts, which could represent bribes deposited directly by those who have transactions with the BoC,” Castelo explained.
He urged the Office of the Ombudsman to carry out a review and assessment of the latest statements of assets, liabilities and net worth of all Customs officials and personnel to establish possible unexplained wealth.
All Customs personnel should also undergo at least 40 hours of value-formation seminars every year to stress the values of integrity and honesty in public service.
A church-led “integrity circles” system may also be put up to embolden honest employees to report the corrupt practices of their colleagues.

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