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Following up on shipments at Customs made easier


08:07 PM January 24th, 2013

By: Jerry E. Esplanada, January 24th, 2013 08:07 PM

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon: A warning. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Brokers and other shippers or cargo owners need no longer have to personally deal with Bureau of Customs personnel to check on the status of their shipments as the bureau’s electronic monitoring system at the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port is now fully operational.

This was announced Thursday by Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, who said the system will also be activated shortly in other major ports nationwide.

In a statement, Biazon called the system a “step further in the computerization program of the Bureau of Customs, assuring the integrity, security and smoother flow of work in the processing of entry documents.”

He said he has instructed Customs district collectors to “provide a kiosk for brokers and other stakeholders where they could check the status of their entries, especially if a particular entry number is not displayed in the monitor.”

The BOC head noted that “overcrowding and disorderly conduct during transactions have long been among the problems in the country’s major ports where hundreds of people elbow their way to have their shipments promptly attended to, and at times resulting in much delay when papers get misplaced or lost.”

Elenita Abaño, chief of the MICP’s container control division, noted “brokers can now easily check or access the status of their shipments.”

“There’s no need for them to transact business with BOC personnel in person,” the former head of the BOC public information office told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

For security reasons and to maintain order in the ports, brokers and other stakeholders are “now prohibited from entering the premises of the bureau’s Formal Entry Division to follow up their shipments,” according to Biazon.

The former Muntinlupa City legislator said that “eradicating red tape, cutting down the number of steps in the processes and reducing the opportunities for human intervention to the barest minimum are among our objectives in line with our vision to make the BOC world-class and a Customs administration that Filipinos can be proud and one they can trust.”

Biazon expressed confidence the situation would improve further this year with the setting up of the bureau’s Integrated Philippine Computer system, or IPCS.

The BOC has allocated some P500 million from its 2013 budget for the program which would overhaul the agency’s IT network.

In a text message, Biazon told this paper the project’s terms of reference were “being finalized.”

“We are targeting awarding the contract sometime in the first quarter of 2013. The program budget will cover, among other things, the upgrade of the current Customs clearance system, the petroleum inventory system and the online X-ray inspection system,” he disclosed.

The program “also aims to integrate the BOC monitoring systems and capabilities to plug loopholes in the process, thereby enhancing trade security and facilitation, as well as revenue collection,” he added.

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