Customs green lane faces dark prospect
Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Isidro Lapeña wants to permanently remove the green lane in the shipment selectivity system, believing that it is being used to smuggle contrabands such as the 604 kilograms of shabu last May which was subject of several investigations.
Lapeña on Monday said the scrapping of the green lane was being considered despite complaints of some brokers and truckers that the move could cause possible port congestion due to tight shipment screening.
The BOC chief ordered the suspension of the green lanes last August following investigation results that the over 600 kilograms of shabu were sneaked into the country by passing through the green late.
Shipments that pass through the green lanes are spared from being scanned by the agency’s x-ray machines.
Because of the suspension of the green lanes, out of the estimated 5,000 container vans that enter the ports in the country, majority or 80 percent of which have been categorized under the red lane that would require x-ray machine scanning, while only 20 percent are placed under the yellow lane. There is also a super green lane, which is being used by multinational companies that have maintained good transaction records with the BOC.
Lapeña said once they have perfected the computerization system at the bureau, they would discuss the possible scrapping of the green lane.
Among the short-term and long-term measures the BOC would be implementing is the installation of additional x-ray machines. The Senate has approved the granting of P1.3 billion for the purchase of 56 x-ray machines to be placed in different ports in the country.
Lapeña said they were also addressing the problem of corrupt Customs employees.
“The x-ray is not causing the congestion. It is the examiners, the checkpoints at the port inspection division gate (who receive bribes or collections), it is the money that is slowing things down,” said Lapeña.
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