MANILA—The Bureau of Customs on Saturday said it is ready to replace 64 employees who will be fired by President Rodrigo Duterte on corruption allegations.
BOC assistant commissioner Jet Maronilla said the agency has plans in place to fill the posts that will be vacated soon.
"Contingencies have already been prepared by the commissioner and BOC. So we're ready to actually be augmented by some of the personnel that we've actually trained coming from the Philippine Coast Guard, which is also a civilian office," Maronilla told ANC in an interview.
"We've already also engaged early this year in a massive recruitment program so we've hired several employees already that can fill up the gaps in case these 64 [employees] are already brought to Malacañang."
His statements came following Duterte's speech on Thursday that he will “relieve” 64 Customs employees of their duties next week due to corruption. Duterte made the statement a day after he ordered the “freezing” of some high-ranking executives of the agency.
"If I can dismiss them, I will be dismissing something like 64 Customs employees," Duterte said at the Malacañan Palace.
Maronilla assured that customs operations would not be affected by the sweeping dismissals.
"We assure the public that the [operations] of the Bureau of Customs will continue to be normal, and it will not be affected by these programs that are being implemented by the President and the Commissioner," Maronilla said.
In 2018, Duterte said he wanted the military to take over the agency after billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs slipped past its watch.
The BOC is currently headed by Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a former Army chief.