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Customs says achieved 2020 automation goals

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) said it achieved its goals last year to fully automate its frontline transactions and get a 100-percent accomplishment rate on its target to modernize the agency’s risk-management processes despite the challenges posed by the economic and health crises.

In a report, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero said they fully automated their frontline services by allowing the online submission of documents through its Customer Care Portal System, upgrading its electronic-to-mobile (E2M) system to computerize manual processes, and accepting online payment options.

“The E2M upgrade is continuously being developed, but critical modules are already being deployed in various ports, an online payment was established and on-line submission of documents is now integrated via the ‘customer care portal.’ Likewise, all deliverables for our priority program on improving our risk management system were also achieved on time,” Guerrero said.

He added that the bureau improved its risk-management processes last year by utilizing an electronic cargo-targeting system, enhancing its cargo selectivity system and rolling out a new, user-friendly Universal Risk Management System (URMS).

The BOC’s digitalization is being credited for the agency’s ability to seize smuggled goods, particularly cigarettes.  From January 1 to December 28 last year, the BOC seized  P9.7 billion-worth of smuggled goods, of which more than half, or about P5.2 billion in value, were smuggled cigarettes and other tobacco products, according to a report by the BOC in an executive committee meeting last January 4.

Meanwhile, Guerrero said major developments on customs modernization program were also implemented in various BOC offices, adding that the priority initiative will go full gear this year with the BOC’s plan to operationalize its Customs Operations Center, establish a Customs Training Institute, kick off new customs systems and continuously upgrade its E2M processes.

“The BOC will be undergoing process reengineering to improve the country’s customs administration, reduce transaction costs and enhance predictability and transparency of the clearance process this year,” Guerrero said.

Further, Guerrero said the BOC also improved its Advance Ruling process and Provisional and Transit Goods Declaration procedures, which resulted in a 91-percent accomplishment rate for this target.

On its goal to review its penalty rules, which includes a draft customs administrative order on the Manual of Penalties that was already pre-cleared by the Department of Finance, Guerrero said the bureau accomplished 90 percent of the target.

To intensify border protection, he also said the BOC achieved a higher number of apprehensions last year through the use of modern security equipment, the establishment of the Customs Operations Center, implementation of the fuel marking program and the training of personnel.

The BOC also hired 385 new employees to fill its plantilla positions and enhance the management and technical skills of its personnel through various learning, training and scholarship programs last year and enhanced its priority program on stakeholders’ engagement by improving the Customs website and conducting mostly online meetings and webinars to familiarize clients and other concerned parties on the different customs processes.

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