Should I say that it was a privilege, I never dreamt that I can experience it first hand, the corrupt acts of people in the Bureau of Customs, premeditated, organized and very promising.

It happened around two years ago in Manila while I was doing “odd jobs” as it is public knowledge that earnings in government is not enough for people like me, interpret it as you wish why but indeed, we all have to move for the betterment of things. 

It was raining hard at around 4:00 PM and I was running into the office of the Bureau of Customs as it was nearing 5:00 PM and it was a Friday, thinking that the office would close at 5:00 PM and it will also be on the next day being a weekend. My goal was to get to the collection center fast for a receipt for a certification.

It was a tax credit certification for the refund of payment of Vietnam rice which, were all placed in a warehouse in Cebu by the Customs Officer as it was not fit for human consumption and my boss for that undertaking wants a refund as she has paid for it already. It was also that day that I discovered that the government does not give refunds for the same but they will instead give tax credit certificates which you can use to pay taxes instead of cash.

Wet and wild, I got to the collection office on time and to my surprise, it was packed with people lining for their turn to be served. A line formed an S, the other was straight, one was a letter L ad it was around 6 counters and I chose that which was straight. I waited for my turn it took me around 30 minutes to wait.

While I was about 3 turns away, I heard people discussing about change and rudeness of the cashier. I couldn’t get what they were rumbling about as I really don’t care as long as I will be finished and take the said receipt to the office at the 3rd floor for the certificate.

When my turn came, my payment was about P300.+ and I gave a P500 peso bill to the cashier and i waited for change. The cashier just stared at me and said “Ano, marami pang nakapila, andyan na sa iyo ang resibo!” Sarcastic and rude, indeed. The lady behind me said, it was the regular routine, the cashiers indeed do not give change and beside me was also in a different situation with another cashier, she gave the exact amount for payment but her money was not accepted. It should be more than the payment and I saw her shell out a P1,000 pesos and also was not given the change for her excess payment.

I went out of the line, surprised and counted people inside the center and it was around a hundred and all of them will be short changed or be overcharged, whatever. I can just imagine how much the cashiers will get from these corrupt activities which, starts from 8:00 AM and ends at 6:00 PM and they are also open Saturdays. Too much money for these employees, surely, their illegal collections are more than their salaries and the amount could be huge that would indeed make them live like kings and queens.

I started my way to the stairs leading to the 3rd floor and the staffs were waiting for me despite of the fact that it was around 6:00 PM already. I begged them to as I am from Mindanao and cannot imagine standing by Manila for the weekend nothing sane to do.

This was just one government office, one of the offices cited as most corrupt of all agencies in the government. Well, I cannot wait to discover more.


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