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Philippine Customs – Corruption on all levels

August 10, 2009

I am sooo mad! What should otherwise have been a happy experience since my shipment of essential oils came in from the US was marred by a sad reminder of why the Philippines is in a steady decline.

I had no idea that the stuff I ordered online would be coursed through the Novaliches post office. I’ve been there before, but couldn’t remember where it was, for the life of me (or maybe it’s selective amnesia). I got there and was made to wait in the sweltering heat. I was then told to proceed in a small room at the back, had to pay P35.00 for some documentation and I thought that was gonna be it. NO. I had to go through customs.

Looks can indeed be deceiving.. he seemed like a nice old man. But I should have known that PHILIPPINE CUSTOM OFFICIALS ARE ALL CORRUPT. He started doing his math on a pad paper, and came up with almost 1,200. my purchase was only 58 dollars! Ganon ba kalaki ang tax?????? Almost 50%???

I said I have to get money from the ATM since I didn’t have enough cash. When I came back, a postal worker took me aside and asked how much he was asking for. She told me “don’t give him anything, plead your case and just give him about 500 pesos.. tell him you weren’t able to withdraw…”

I went inside and said I didn’t have enough money in my ATM and asked if I could pay less. He said “well, this number is tax… if you pay less I wouldn’t be able to give you a receipt…” I said, this is for personal use and I don’t need a receipt anyway.

Let me make this clear. I WANT to pay my taxes. I WANT to be a good citizen. But I decry the fact that THESE CORRUPT CUSTOMS OFFICIALS will jack up the “official” taxes way above what it should be so that people like me will naturally try to find a way to get out of the unfairness of it! I would have happily paid any official amount below 500 pesos. Will I pay 1,200 for items that do not even exceed 3,000 pesos. NO FUCKING WAY. I bet that woman was also part of it. I bet that had I insisted on paying the official amount, they would be lost on trying to find a way on what to put on my official receipt.

These people make it so impossible to trust that our country will ever be right. The small fish have no qualms about playing it dirty like this, what more about the big fish up there near the airports and ports. It’s disgusting.

What’s funny is that on their website, flashes of the words “professionalism”, “dedication”, “integrity” are being flashed.

What. A. Joke.

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