THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) deferred the implementation of the shortened period for the lodgment of goods declaration to seven days from the original 15 days.
BOC Spokesman Erastus Sandino B. Austria confirmed in a text message to the BusinessMirror that Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero has deferred the implementation of Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 18-2019.
“Its implementation [CMO 18-2019] has already been deferred,” Austria said. “Commissioner [Guerrero] already issued a memorandum.”
The shortened period for the lodgment of goods should have been implemented on May 3.
“Pending policy refinements and updating of E2M [electronic-to-mobile] system by the management information system and technology group, CMO 18-2019 with above quoted subject is hereby suspended until further notice,” the memorandum said.
The E2M system was implemented by the BOC to help streamline its processes, which is seen to improve trade facilitation between the bureau and its stakeholders.
Under CMO 18-2019, which was issued on April 29, the BOC has ordered the adjustment of the period of lodgment of goods declaration of goods and payment of duties and taxes from 15 days to seven days from the date of discharge of the last package from the vessel or aircraft.
The shortened period for the lodgment of goods declaration was pointed out to help in terms of keeping with the BOC’s mandate on facilitating trade, optimizing revenue generation, further easing port congestion, streamlining processes, as well as protecting the interest of its stakeholders.
“Various port users, both importers and exporters, have called the attention of the bureau in the discharge of their shipments and delivery of export shipments that they claim are the effects of congestion in the various ports resulting to lost revenues and foregone opportunities,” CMO 18-2019 read.
Republic Act (RA) 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) enables the Customs Commissioner to adjust the period in line with the lodgment of goods declaration by importers and exporters.
The Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc. (CCBI) sent a letter to Guerrero on May 2 requesting for the deferment of the implementation of CMO 18-2019, stating no public consultation was mounted with BOC stakeholders before the issuance of the said CMO.
“This refers to the above subject shortening the days for lodgment of goods declaration from 15 to seven days from the date of the last discharge of package from vessel or aircraft and did not undergo the usual public consultation before the issuance of the said CMO,” the CCBI said.
The request letter, which was signed by CCBI President Adones C. Carmona, said the concerns of its members in line with the shortening of the lodgment of goods declaration include: shipments that need to secure authority to release imported goods usually takes four to seven working days from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); shipments that need to secure Tax Exemption Certificate under section 800 of the CMTA from the office of the Department of Finance (DOF); delay in the receipt of shipping documents, especially those covered with letter of credits; as well as the BOC server downtime and late response time of its value-added service providers (VASPs).
These concerns emphasize it takes more than seven days for requirements to be completed by customs brokers when dealing with shipments that go through the BOC.
“In this regard, may we respectfully request for the deferment of the implementation of CMO 18-2019 and be given the chance to be heard of our position in a public forum,” Carmona said.