THE PRESIDENTIAL palace said it is unfazed by customs’ brokers’ threat to fight President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s plan to remove them from the Bureau of Customs as a way to cut corruption, his spokesman said yesterday.

“Even if they want to fight, the president is mandated by the Constitution to serve the people and to protect the people,” presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo told reporters on Wednesday.

Adones S. Carmona, president of the Chamber of Customs Brokers, told ABS-CBN News that the country’s almost 12,000 brokers will fight the plan.

Norberto V. Castillo, president of the Philippine Association of Customs Brokers in Education, said the government should upgrade the bureau’s technology and professionalize its ranks.

He said Mr. Duterte could not just order the removal of brokers because the government is mandated to enforce the Customs Brokers Act of 2004.

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 modernizing Customs.

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. — Arjay L. Balinbin