Guerrero: There is still ‘tara’ system in BOC

By Betheena Kae Unite

“Tara” system, although believed to be less severe, still remains in the Bureau of Customs, its top officials revealed Tuesday.

Bureau of Customs (MANILA BULLETIN)
Bureau of Customs (MANILA BULLETIN)

“Meron pa ring ‘Tara’ (There is still ‘Tara’),” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in a press briefing Tuesday. “I am still hearing that ‘tara’ still exists. We have arrested some, we hear stories, complaints are still coming.”

The commissioner stressed, “for as long as there are complaints and stakeholders are still complaining, and importers are reporting customs officers, who are involved in the corrupt system, then ‘tara’ is still here.”

However, Guerrero said the corrupt system, which promotes receiving grease money for the release of a shipment, is now believed to be less severe.

Improved collection indicates that “tara” has been toned down in the bureau.

“Just by monitoring the MICP (Manila International Container Port) and Port of Manila, even the appraisers and examiners — we have been observing their performance on a daily basis — we are seeing an improvement on rate of assessment and by that, it only means that they are enforcing the right valuation,” the commissioner said in Filipino.

From January to June this year, the bureau was able to collect P303.356 billion revenue against its P305.058-billion goal for the period.

The commissioner explained that the “tara” system already involves a lot of people within and outside the bureau systematically.

He explained that from erring traders or importers, who wished to maximize their profit by evading duties and taxes due to the government, the system runs to the fixers and players, brokers, and customs employees.

“Sabi ko nga nagsisimula ‘yan doon sa importers e. May mga importers, traders na gusto magpasok ng mga shipmnets o goods dito. Gusto nila makatipid. E sila naman ko-contact yan e ng mga brokers. Yung iba diyan hindi brokers ang kino-contact kundi mga players, mga fixers-siya yung may network na (As I have said it starts with the importers. There are traders and importers who want to bring in shipments or goods and they want to spend less. So, they will contact the brokers while others do not contact brokers but players and fixers who already have network,” Guerrero said.

The bureau has been pointing out that in order to finally get rid of this system, customs processes must be fully-automated to avoid face-to-face contact between importers and customs employees.

At present, the bureau is 70 percent automated. However, procurement, according to Guerrero, has been delaying the progress of the automation project of the bureau.