MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has sought the assistance of the private sector amid his plan to intensify the fight against rampant smuggling in the country, Malacañang said on Saturday.
Marcos, in a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Thursday, lamented that the present system is “not working,” despite efforts to curb 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,” he told PSAC, as quoted by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO). “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.”
Marcos said concerned government agencies must step up and be “more innovative” to address rampant smuggling, PCO Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.
Garafil said Marcos emphasized the need to delineate the government’s functions or establish new agencies, if needed, to become effective.
The Chief Executive, she said, particularly wants reform in the bureaucracy to curb smuggling, reduce logistics costs, and ensure ease of doing business as his government works to prop up investments and business activity in the country.
Marcos acknowledged that 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, Garafil added.
“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,” she said quoting the President. “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.”
Garafil noted that opening up the database to the Bureau of Customs and the Department of Agriculture was one of the recommendations made during Marcos’ meeting with the PSAC 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,” she said. (PNA)