New customs chief unveils seven priorities

The Bureau of Customs, under the new administration, unveiled seven priority programs aimed at curbing smuggling, increasing revenue collections, eradicating corruption, and implementing the full digitization.

Following the turnover ceremony on Monday, July 25, Acting Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz said he will carry on the good governance and process reforms that were started by the previous administration.

Before his designation as Customs chief, Ruiz was the head of the Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) of the bureau since 2017.

As ESS Director, he spearheaded several enforcement projects and handled the operations which contributed to the anti-smuggling campaign of agency.

The new Customs chief also served the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as Regional Director for seven years in different regions nationwide where he led numerous drug interdiction efforts.

In a speech during the turnover ceremony, Ruiz underscored his seven priority programs.

They include zero tolerance for drug smugglers; curb gun smuggling; eliminate agricultural smuggling; increase revenue generation; fully digitalize Customs processes; increase employee morale; and eradicate corruption.

The priority programs are aligned with the mission order given by President Marcos, the commissioner said.

Ruiz formally assumed office as the head of the bureau on Monday. He took his oath before President Marcos last July 20 as the acting commissioner of Customs.

Ruiz thanked former Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero for implementing “the much-needed reformation of the bureau, a historical legacy that is now his duty to continue.”

Guerrero congratulated and welcomed Ruiz, who according to him is “a public servant with a track record of accomplishments that will surely bring new energy to the Bureau.”

“Being part of the organization for several years now, you have the advantage of hitting the ground running, so to speak, and a familiarity with the ins and outs that will serve you in good stead as you steward our institution towards mission accomplishment,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero also expressed his gratitude to the men and women of BOC for the hard work, cooperation, and commitment they have given under his tenure.

“It has been my privilege and honor to have stood together with you throughout the last four years, amidst the toughest tests and the Covid-19 pandemic,” Guerrero said.

“You have made it possible for the Bureau to transform and to achieve, with solid results and a revitalized service ethic that benefits our stakeholders and partners,” the outgoing commissioner added.