Ayaw magtrabaho? BOC quarantines entire building amid Manila port crisis
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is being criticized for inexplicably placing under a 14-day quarantine its office at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) after an employee tested positive for coronavirus disease.
The move has further disrupted processing of imports, especially in assessment, in the country’s biggest trading gateway which is on the verge of shutting down due to the slow release of containers.
“The quarantine of the building is an an overkill when the BOC could have disinfected the facility and conducted contact tracing and isolation of affected personnel,” an importer said.
“BOC should start normalizing operations and increase manpower to catch up. Parang hindi alam ng BOC kung gaano kahalaga ang trabaho nila sa panahon na ito,” the importer added.
Former congressman Ted Failon believes that the BOC and customs brokers were in cahoots to deliberately slow down the release of imports at Manila ports in order to squeeze more profits from importers.
Roughly 70 percent of all shipments go through the MICP and with the two-week closure, all importers are forced to go through the South Harbor.
The importer said if the BOC believed that it could centralize all its transactions in one building, it should do so during normal times.
“Doable naman pala na pwede naman na isang collection district lang ang Manila instead of 2 (MICP and Port of Manila). Splitting the Port of Manila into 2 collection districts only perpetuates corruption in BoC because shippers get to choose where to process their cargoes. Shippers normally go where the customs officials are more accommodating,” the importer said.