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BOC ordered to implement antismuggling measures

By: Ronnel W. Domingo, April 15th, 2013 08:17 PM

The Department of Finance has ordered the Bureau of Customs to “begin the development and implementation” of new measures to fight smuggling, particularly of petroleum products.

These include the accreditation starting in May of ports that will be allowed to accommodate products that are frequently smuggled.

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima on Monday said in a statement the measures would also include the submission of rolling import plans by importers, trade statistics reconciliation, and special monitoring of oil smuggling cases.

“Customs Commissioner (Ruffy) Biazon and I have been working on these antismuggling tactics, which should provide new tools to empower our customs department against smugglers,” Purisima said. “In addition, they will make customs collectors accountable for their own performance.”

The finance chief said he had issued last week a department order that “will no doubt strike a heavy blow against those who do not do business fairly in the Philippines.”

DO No. 17-2013 fleshes out measures that Purisima had previously said would help in curbing the smuggling of goods such as oil, steel, grains, tiles, gold and vehicles.

Purisima said the accreditation system was meant to deter the practice of “port shopping” by importers that frequently change ports of entry in order to avoid tax.

Also, accredited ports will be required to submit to the DOF monthly trade statistical reports that will be cross-checked with data from the Department of Energy (DOE), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and other relevant agencies. The cross-checking will be done  on a per-volume and per-vessel basis to eliminate discrepancies in import and consumption data.

Further, the Bureau of Customs was ordered to require all importers of these commodities to submit their annual rolling import plan indicating quantity, type, source and location of intended port arrival.

Based on the order, the BOC will pre-authorize importation of sensitive commodities in accordance with the annual import plan.

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