A revised draft customs administrative order (CAO) covering the accreditation and regulation of information processors—also known as value-added service providers (VASPS)—has been released by the Philippine Department of Finance and Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Accredited information processors (AIPs) are BOC-accredited ICT companies to whom the collection, holding, processing, or use of personal information of stakeholders is outsourced.
The draft CAO will implement several sections of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and other relevant policies of BOC. It will amend CAO No. 2-2007, which deals with the accreditation, establishment, and operation of VASPs, and supersede the draft presented to stakeholders last January on accrediting VASPs. A public hearing on the first draft CAO was conducted on March 29.
The revised version will no longer be subject to a public hearing.
The revised draft notes that “given the government’s thrust of continuously providing better, efficient and reliable front-line services to the trading community through partnership with the private sector, the BOC shall continue to adhere to the practice of using Accredited Information Processors (AIPs) as a link to deliver world-class-quality front-line Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services to BOC’s clients.”
The proposed CAO will apply to all types of electronic transactions relating to BOC’s automated cargo clearance processing system. These include those on registering BOC stakeholders; lodging import declarations (consumption, warehousing, transshipment, and informal entry); lodging export declarations; and transmitting information on raw materials liquidation, surety bonds, payment, online release, and advance manifest.
Other services that AIPs may render will have to be determined by the Customs Commissioner.
To speed up AIP accreditation, a technical support team (TST) composed of a chairman, five members, and a secretariat will be formed. The TST will facilitate the accreditation process; recommend relevant policies, responsibilities, and liabilities of AIPs; endorse the rules and processes for accrediting AIPs; recommend the evaluation criteria, business model, and timeframes for AIP accreditation, for approval by the customs commissioner; assess the legal and financial capacity of each applicant; and publish and hold informational campaigns to ensure the widest circulation of the AIP program in partnership with the accredited AIPs.
A candidate AIP is to undergo a six-month probationary period for technical evaluation before the TST decides whether to grant it full accreditation status.
Accreditation is good for three years, which includes the probationary period and is renewable every three years.
Under the draft order, the AIP will determine its fee structure based on market conditions and system sustainability requirements, among others. Changes to the fee structure must be approved by the customs commissioner and the IT group’s deputy commissioner. The BOC will not be collecting these fees on behalf of the AIP.
The AIP, under existing agreements or regulations, will develop the frontline ICT system and establish the necessary infrastructure and telecommunications facilities to allow for the electronic transactions required.
The BOC-AIP gateway, to be operated by the BOC, will be the sole connectivity of AIPs to the BOC system.
BOC clients in turn are to be connected to the BOC-AIP gateway via their chosen AIP, which has the facility for processing import and export entries.
The AIP’s facility should be accessible to duly registered importers, exporters, designated brokers, and other stakeholders.
The AIP is mandated to electronically submit periodic and other reports as may be required within 24 hours of notice from the BOC.
In the meantime, AIPs/VASPs currently accredited through CAO No. 2-2007 will continue to provide their services until their accreditation expires. Any new accreditation will have to follow the rules in the proposed CAO.
Current AIPs/VASPs are Cargo Data Exchange Centre, E-Konek, and InterCommerce Network Services. – Roumina Pablo
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