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Another Milestone for Bureau of Customs

By Kyle Gabrielle Ureta and Lorelee Antonette Yap

Celebrating its 117th anniversary tomorrow, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is a Philippine government agency under the Department of Finance. Through the years, BOC has evolved across different reformations from changing titles, positions, and duties due to various laws until its present form today. Since then, the BOC has been in charge of imports and exports, customs procedures, border control, prevention and suppression of smuggled goods and other customs fraud, and international trade in general.

Another Milestone for Bureau of Customs
BOC's joint flag raising ceremony to start the week-long celebration of its 117th Anniversary.  (Above) Acting Deputy Commissioner for Internal Administartion Group (IAG) Donato San Juan II and BOC Chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero giving service awards to BOC employees. 
The Bureau of Customs also handles the facilitation and security of international trade and commerce through an informed compliance program.

It handles the supervision and control over the entrance and clearance of vessels and aircraft engaged in foreign commerce the handling of foreign mails arriving in the Philippines for the purpose of collecting revenues and preventing the entry of contraband on all import and export cargoes landed or stored in piers, airports, terminal facilities. This includes container yards and freight stations for the protection of government revenue and prevention of entry of contraband.

The BOC enforces Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and all other laws, rules, and regulations related to customs administration. RA 10863 amends the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) in an attempt to modernize Customs rules and procedures for faster trade, reduced opportunities for corruption, and improved Customs service delivery and improved supply chain.

Another Milestone for Bureau of Customs

The Bureau of Customs is headed by the Customs Commissioner, currently Rey Leonardo Guerrero, who is responsible for the general administration and management of the bureau. The Commissioner is assisted by six Deputy Commissioners and an Assistant Commissioner, who supervises the Internal Administration Group, Revenue Collection Monitoring Group, Assessment and Operations Coordination Group, Intelligence Group, Enforcement Group, Management Information System and Technology Group and Post Clearance Audit Group.

Guerrero succeeded the position of Former Customs Commissioner and now, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General, Isidro Lapena, last October 31, 2018. Before he became BOC Commissioner, Guerrero was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) after his retirement from the Armed Forces of the Philippines as chief. He served in the military for 34 years and was the commanding general of the Eastern Mindanao Command.    

The Bureau of Customs often work in conjunction with other departments and other countries’ own customs department in order to ensure that laws and regulations are implemented properly. Just recently, the BOC and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency or PDEA signed a memorandum of agreement at the PDEA office activity area in Quezon City in order to renew their partnership in preventing the smuggling of illegal drugs.

This agreement will ensure that the two departments will hold monthly meetings to discuss operational matters, the status of implemented programs, and strategies necessary to meet their objectives.

The BOC has a yearly and monthly revenue target that it aims to achieve, per customs collection port and as a whole. They keep track and report their progress on both their official website and their official Facebook page.

Another Milestone for Bureau of Customs

The BOC also works in partnership with the appropriate departments to prevent banned goods from entering the country-particularly those that have a risk of being contaminated with virus or disease from areas experiencing an outbreak of said virus or disease. Most recently, the BOC reinforced a DA order regarding the ban of pork from specific countries where an outbreak of African Swine Fever had been monitored. Along with the National Veterinary Quarantine Service or NVQS, Customs tightened its regulations when it came to quarantine policies over swine products.

As a part of its duties, the BOC prevents the smuggling of fake or counterfeit products from entering the country, confiscating them in raids approved by the Commissioner himself. Under the Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, fake goods are prohibited.

Last Thursday as well, 3 raids were successfully performed in various warehouse units in Binondo, Parañaque. These raids yielded P700 million worth of bogus apparel that was seized and confiscated by the BOC. The bureau also issued another letter of authority against two warehouses located at Meliton Espiritu Street, Steelhauz Compound, Sucat, Parañaque City.

Another Milestone for Bureau of Customs
Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, accompanied by Atty. Ma. Rhea M. Gregorio, District Collector of the Port of Subic, witnessed the inspection of twelve (12) containers of abandoned sugar at Subic Bay International Container Port (SBITC).
Since the start of the year, the BOC has seen various revamps and improvements in policy, as well as more activities against smuggling and customs fraud.

Topics: Bureau of Customs , Department of Finance , Customs Modernization and Tariff Act , Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines
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