The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) will implement on June 15 the requirement to lodge goods declaration within seven days from the previous 15 days.
Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 27-2019, dated June 3 and signed June 4 by Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, implements the shortened period for lodging the goods declaration. The new order also provides instructions for the provisional goods declaration, as requested by stakeholders when they agreed to the new policy’s implementation.
The new order repeals other inconsistent orders, including CMO 18-2019, which was issued last April and had the same orders as CMO 27-2019. Notably, CMO 18-2019 was suspended following stakeholders’ concerns that certain processes took time to complete, making compliance with the shorter period difficult.
BOC last May 16 met with stakeholders and discussed, among other policies, CMO 18-2019. Stakeholders agreed to have the order re-implemented on June 1 on certain conditions, but the plan did not push through. BOC then said the shortened period for goods declaration lodgement would be implemented on June 15.
Like CMO 18-2019 before it, CMO 27-2019 was issued in response to calls to BOC by importers and exporters who said delays in the discharge and deliveries of their shipments were the effects of port congestion “in the various ports resulting [in] lost revenue and foregone opportunities.”
The order is also in keeping with the customs bureau’s mandate to facilitate trade, optimize revenue generation, further ease port congestion, streamline processes, and protect the interest of its stakeholders.
CMO 27-2019 notes that according to the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act’s (CMTA) Section 407 (Goods Declaration and Period of Filing), particularly the section’s last paragraph: “Goods declaration must be lodged within fifteen (15) days from the date of discharge of the last package from the vessel or aircraft. The period to file the goods declaration may, upon request, be extended on valid grounds for another fifteen (15) days: Provided, that the request is made before the expiration of the original period within which to file the goods declaration: Provided, however, that the period of the lodgement of the goods declaration may be adjusted by the Commissioner.”
Prior to the CMTA, the period to lodge a declaration under the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines was 30 days.
CMO 27-2019 says the correct data should be inputted in the “DISCHARGE OF LAST PACKAGE” filed in BOC’s electronic-to-mobile (e2m) system, and this shall be implemented and closely monitored by the Piers and Inspection Division-Bay Service chief, or the equivalent units, “to avoid undue abandonment of shipments in the system.”
Where the declarant does not have all the information or supporting document to complete the goods declaration, the lodging of provisional goods declaration may be allowed in accordance with Section 403 (Provisional goods declaration) of the CMTA. In this connection, the e2m system will be adjusted to cover payment of duties and taxes, CMO 27-2019 states.
Certain shipments may be tagged abandoned by the updated e2m system in the implementation of CMO 27-2019, so a report of those shipments tagged as abandoned shall be provided to BOC’s Management Information System and Technology Group so the shipments can be untagged as abandoned by the concerned district collector.
CMO 27-2019 states that after the goods declaration is lodged, district collectors shall immediately examine the goods, when necessary, pursuant to Section 419 (Examination of goods) of the CMTA. The district collectors should then assess the goods; after which, the stakeholders may immediately pay the duties and taxes after the assessment. – Roumina Pablo