All Philippine truckers transporting import and export shipments to and from the ports will soon be required to register with the Bureau of Customs (BOC), otherwise they can’t carry such goods.
The ruling is contained in Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 05-2019, signed by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on February 4, which provides the rules and regulations on the registration of truckers. CMO 05-2019 takes effect 30 calendar days after publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.
Under CMO 05-2019, all truckers must first register with BOC’s Client Profile Registration System (CPRS) before applying for registration. The BOC registration is valid for three years.
The order also requires truckers to post a general transportation security amounting to at least PhP50,000.
BOC has jurisdiction over truckers, considered as third parties under Section 1226 (Supervision and Regulation of Third Parties) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) of 2016. The section states that “third parties transacting with the Bureau on behalf of importers and consignees shall be treated equally as true importers or consignees.”
CMO 05-2019 covers all truckers dealing directly with BOC for and on behalf of the importer or exporter relating to the transportation of goods. The term truckers, it notes, refer to operators of land carriers that transport imported goods from the port of entry to another port of entry as exit point, customs facilities and warehouses (CFW), customs bonded warehouses (CBW), Freeport zones, and to the consignee’s premises.
Inland Haulers and Truckers Association president Teodorico Gervacio, in an interview with Asia Customs & Trade, said his group does not mind BOC registration of trucks transporting cargoes bound to and from Customs-regulated facilities such as customs bonded warehouses.
He, however, said registration is unnecessary for trucks just picking up cargoes already cleared with BOC.
He explained truckers do not deal directly with BOC but with customs brokers or importers, and that they (truckers) assume cargoes they transport are “legal” when they are issued a gate pass. He noted a gate pass is only issued if the shipment has been cleared with BOC and has made all necessary payments.
He said truckers already secure a permit to operate with the Philippine Ports Authority, allowing them to enter the ports.
Registration application with BOC Account Management Office
The new order is meant to identify truckers who may be authorized to transact with BOC in relation to the transport of imported goods. It’s also for gathering sufficient information about truckers to establish a database for risk management and enforcement, and improve compliance level for trade facilitation.
Truckers or their duly authorized representative shall file their registration, along with the required documents, with BOC’s Account Management Office (AMO) if the applicant is within Metro Manila, or with the Office of the District Collector nearest its principal place of business if the applicant is outside Metro Manila.
Pending the restructuring of BOC offices, all applications for registration shall be approved or disapproved by the customs commissioner, upon the recommendation of the Intelligence Group (IG) deputy commissioner. Applications shall be processed and evaluated by AMO within five working days from receipt of complete documentary requirements. In case of discrepancy in the documents submitted, AMO shall inform the applicant through email to submit compliance.
Submitting spurious documents or making untruthful statements shall warrant denial of application to register with BOC, CMO 05-2019 notes.
BOC may conduct an on-site verification or a post-inspection to ascertain whether the declared office provided in the application is correct. For this, the AMO shall request assistance from BOC’s IG, subject to the issuance of appropriate mission order by the customs commissioner. If, during inspection, the applicant is found not to be maintaining the declared office and garage, the registration shall be disapproved.
Approved application for registration shall be evidenced by a Certificate of Registration, which is automatically issued under the CPRS.
3-year validity period
The registration of truckers with BOC shall be valid for three years from the date of its approval, unless sooner revoked or suspended. If the issued Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) provides for a shorter period of its validity, the period of registration with BOC shall be valid with the same duration as that of its CPC. Applications for renewal should be filed at least 30 days before the validity period expires to ensure continuous validity of accreditation, according to CMO 05-2019.
Truckers that transport imported goods shall be placed under customs transit from a port of entry to other ports, and shall post a general transportation security (GTS) amounting to at least P50,000.
“Such security shall ensure the complete and immediate delivery of the goods to the customs officer at the port of destination and the payment of pertinent customs charges and expenses and other transfer costs,” CMO 05-2019 states. The amount of the GTS may be adjusted by the customs commissioner upon the approval of the finance secretary.
Under CMO 05-2019, truckers must paint or display the BOC registration number outside the vehicle where it can be seen by customs officers for proper identification. The marking must be readable at a distance of five meters.
For this purpose, BOC shall design and issue an official emblem to properly monitor and identify compliant truckers.
Registered truckers are also mandated to provide AMO with their existing, accurate and official e-mail addresses and contact numbers where BOC shall send notices and communications, and changes, modification or updates to these contact details.
Notices and communications sent to the registered trucker’s official e-mail addresses shall be deemed received, unless there is an electronic system notification of non-delivery.
Registered truckers shall also follow and comply with customs laws, rules and regulations.
Sanctions for violations
Any complaint or recommendation to suspend, revoke, cancel or reactivate the registration of the trucker shall be filed with the AMO chief, who shall prepare a disposition for consideration of the customs commissioner.
Any recommendation to suspend, cancel, or revoke, including a recommendation to activate previous registration after a previous decision to suspend, revoke, or cancel, shall be subject to approval of the customs commissioner. The final order on the matter shall be endorsed to AMO for immediate implementation.
A trucker faces suspension of registration privileges of one month and one day to three months for failure to report changes in requirements after approval of registration as required, or late submission of application for renewal.
A trucker will be sanctioned with the revocation or cancellation of registration for facilitating the transportation of fraudulent imported or exported articles, or any article whose importation is prohibited or contrary to law. Registration of a trucker will also be cancelled or revoked for transporting goods or merchandise knowing that these were unlawfully removed from vessels, CFWs, CBWs, or those still in customs custody or control. Another ground for cancellation or revocation is failing to report to the proper customs authorities any fraud upon customs revenue which has come to the trucker’s knowledge or cognizance.
Material misinterpretation—or submission of false information or document in the application or renewal of customs registration or in any transactions with BOC, such as fictitious applicant or non-existent officers, fictitious Bureau of Internal Revenue Tax Identification Number, inexistent office address, and other analogous circumstances—is also a ground for registration cancellation or revocation.
If aggrieved, the registered trucker, under CMO 05-2019, may file for a motion for reconsideration (MR) with the customs commissioner within five calendar days from the receipt of notice of suspension or cancellation/revocation.
Thereafter, the corresponding resolution shall be prepared by AMO within five working days from receipt of the MR, for the approval and consideration of the customs commissioner. The decision of the commissioner shall be final and executory, according to CMO 05-2019. – Roumina Pablo
Updated on Feb 15, 12:01 pm to include comment of Inland Haulers and Truckers Association president.