CUSTOMS brokers will seek a dialog with President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who has threatened to expel them from the system to cut corruption.

The Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) has written to Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go, Mr. Duterte’s former aide, to ask for his help in saving their profession, chamber President Adones C. Carmona said by telephone last week.

“We want to reach out to the president,” he said. “We want to explain that we are part of nation-building, and we are not the opponent here. We also want change.”

Customs brokers liaise between shippers and government agencies. They try to ensure that shipments meet legal requirements, organize and submit documentation and make sure that duties and taxes are paid.

Meanwhile, Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said by telephone they were coordinating with the Office of the President about the issue.

Mr. Carmona said the organization’s 11,900 members will lose their jobs if Mr. Duterte’s plan proceeds.

Students learning to become brokers will also be affected, he said, noting that Bachelor of Customs administration is a degree that is offered by 85 colleges, schools and universities nationwide.

Mr. Duterte earlier said removing brokers from the bureau would eliminate corruption at the agency. “Take away the brokers and you would have cut corruption overnight,” he said.

But Mr. Carmona said they should not be “singled out” because corruption exists in other government agencies.

He also urged the Customs bureau to deal with fixers because they are the ones who collude with officials at the bureau.

“The ones colluding with Customs officials are not the licensed brokers but the players, the fixers,” he said.

Norberto V. Castillo, president of the Philippine Association of Customs Brokers in Education, has asked the government to focus on upgrading Customs technology and professionalizing its ranks.

The presidential palace last week said it was unfazed by brokers’ threat to fight Mr. Duterte’s plan to remove them from the Bureau of Customs.

Customs brokers have rejected claims that they were to blame for corruption at the Customs bureau. The chamber said it would defend the livelihood of its nearly 12,000 licensed members, adding that the palace should instead modernize the agency.

Albay Rep. Joey S. Salceda on Wednesday said his ways and means committee would study the Customs Brokers Act to see if Mr. Duterte’s wish to expel brokers from the bureau could be accommodated. — Beatrice M. Laforga