Let us give a chance for Comm. Jagger’s reforms

YESTERDAY, Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner, Rey Leonardo ‘Jagger’ Guerrero, was in his “best element,” so to speak, as he led the launching of six new ‘computer-based’ systems that the bureau hope would help catapult it to becoming one of the “best” customs agency this side of the Pacific.

These are the ‘Goods Declaration Verification System’ (GDVS), the ‘National Value Verification System’ (NVVS), the ‘Alert Order Monitoring System’ (AOMS), the ‘Customer Care Portal System’ (CCPS), the ‘Document Tracking System’ (DTS) and, the ‘Dashboard System’ (DS).

Only last week, Comm. Jagger had to attend a “gruelling” conference of all customs officials in the ASEAN region in Laos where the region’s main problem— drug trafficking— was among those on top of their agenda.

I would not be surprised if there were some “awkward moments” during the discussions in Laos, considering that being part of the so-called ‘Golden Triangle,’ Laos (at least its remotest parts) is a “haven” for the international drug cartels. It is, in fact, among the world’s major source of illegal drugs, particularly heroin and shabu, with the latter now regularly finding its way to our local addicts market.

In other words, it would not be far fetched to imagine that some of the “dignitaries” there hearing out Comm. Jagger talked about the best way to combat illegal drugs are actually in the payroll of drug lords, regardless of their lofty titles.

Having said thus, yesterday’s presentation by the BOC should also be seen as part of Comm. Jagger’s conscious effort to not only make the agency “customer-centrist” as he puts it, but also, better prepared to combat the entry of narcotics and other contrabands in the country.

Stated differently, these “enhancements” in the BOC’s overall “information technology system” is not only in response to the stakeholders’ call for faster trade facilitation but without compromising the bureau’s other goals of border protection and revenue generation.

The NGDVS of course, is a project left behind by Comm. Sid Lapeña and it is to the credit of Comm. Jagger that he even improved on its implementation.

On the other hand, I even privately congratulated Comm. Jagger for the launching of the NVVS as the issue of proper valuation has always been a project much talked about by all his predecessors but which they never actually implemented.

And under the able hands of IAS director, Yasser Abbas, I am sure the NVVS would be put to good use for the benefit of the bureau and the stakeholders.

Ditto, everyone I talked to yesterday from the stakeholders are looking forward for the AOMS to actually succeed as this would mean that they are not going to literally have “sleepless nights” once their shipments have been alerted for whatever reason.

For it is a truism at the waterfront that the thing any broker and importer fear the most is to see their shipment alerted as this would not only mean added cost in terms of delay but also, additional “tara,” aguy,aguy,aguy!

And it is a good thing too that Comm. Jagger appears to be aware that an AOMS can only be made effective and “trustworthy” if it has a DTS to go with it.

Indeed, the “mini-racket” in any customs office (by the office clerks) is to “hold” the release or transfer to another office of a document, especially those pertaining to an alerted shipment, unless those following it up grease their palms with money or “padulas.”

And to the credit again of Comm. Jagger, he also did not discard the “customer care” project of Comm. Bert Lina, but instead improve on it further under the CCPS.

And then there is the BOC Dashboard, a project that has struck yours truly by its “awesomeness” and which concept was probably taken by Comm. Jagger from the “TOC” (Tactical Operations Center) of the 10TH Infantry ‘Agila’ Division of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) where Comm. Jagger was previous area commander before he was appointed AFP chief of staff.

I have previously lavished praises on the Agila Division’s TOC as it is, insofar as I can tell, the “most modern” and the “most advanced” in the entire AFP as it gives the military commander “real-time” monitoring of all its component elements.

Similarly, Comm. Jagger’s “dashboard” gives him real-time monitoring of all the performances of the bureau’s various units and collection districts in any part of the country thus allowing him to make “tactical decisions” on problems and issues that he gets to confront each day.

Now, having made operational these reforms, the right way for everyone else to do is to support them and give them a chance to work.