Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » Harbor pilots to assist in anti-smuggling moves

At the MOA signing between PPA and BOC were (L to R) United Harbor Pilots Association of the Philippines president Capt. Vicente Lagura, Customs commissioner Napoleon Morales,PPA general manager Atty. Oscar Sevilla, and PPA assistant general manager for operations Ben Cecilio

THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that allows them to harness harbor pilots for their anti-smuggling efforts.

In an interview after the signing ceremony, PPA general manager Atty. Oscar Sevilla said the United Harbor Pilots Association of the Philippines (UHPAP) will help the BOC validate raw information on goods carried by vessels.

“The harbor pilots (will) access the manifest from vessels set to dock, forwarding it to the BOC for verification specifically within the vicinity of private and private commercial ports,” Sevilla said.

“The harbor pilots are in the best position to identify which vessels are involved in smuggling as they have advance information on vessels docking at our ports,” Sevilla added.

“Our anti-smuggling campaign is hinged on information. The more information we get, the better we can operate and decide on smuggling cases. The information from the PPA and the UHPAP will help us in our intelligence operations, case building and post-entry audit,” Customs commissioner Napoleon Morales for his part said.

Under the MOA, the PPA will require vessels to submit their cargo manifest and other documents prior to berthing. These documents will be used by the BOC to counter check whether loaded cargoes are smuggled, misdeclared or undervalued.

The UHPAP, which provides mandatory pilotage services to docking vessels, will also provide BOC with a regular list of vessels maneuvered in ports. The BOC will use the list to track the movement of all vessels and filter out the legitimate from those that claim to come from a domestic port but in fact originate from overseas and carry smuggled goods. The MOA is for full implementation in March.

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