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PBBM orders major reform to fight smuggling

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants reform in the bureaucracy to curb smuggling, lower logistics costs and ensure ease of doing business as his government works to prop up investments and business activity in the country.

During a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), the President said the present system isn’t working, stressing that government agencies must do something particularly to address rampant smuggling.

“To be brutally frank about it, we have a system but they are not working. The smuggling here in this country is absolutely rampant. So it does not matter to me how many systems we have in place, they do not work,” the President told PSAC members in Malacañang.

“So we really have to find something else. We cannot continue to depend on these systems which have already proven themselves to be quite ineffective,” the chief executive pointed out.

Whether the systems are ineffective or whether it’s the way they’re being operated or the result of side deals by the people, the end result is that the systems currently in place are not working, Marcos said.

The government cannot continue to sweep the issue under the rug because the cost to the state and private businesses is enormous, the President pointed out.

According to the President, issues on the ease of doing business and the inefficiency of the country’s airports and seaports are the major complaints he is receiving from the business sector.

Concerned agencies have to be more innovative, President Marcos said, stressing the government has to delineate functions or establish new agencies if necessary to be effective.

One of the recommendations raised was opening up the database to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure the efficient sharing of information.

Officials said it is a way of correlating information to fight smuggling.

Even enforcers, they said, have a problem going after smugglers because of the documentary requirements or the paper chase. #

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