Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Maritime » PH Customs chief open to changes in manifest rules

Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) officials recently pushed for changes to rules on the late submission of consolidated cargo manifest as well as the manifest amendment. Photo shows (L to R): PISFA vice president for external affairs Erich Lingad, PortCalls publisher Liza Almonte, PISFA directors Renato Ayson and Jim Roxas, executive vice president Mariz Regis, Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon, president Irene Manguiat-Tan, and corporate secretary Josie Yap.

PHILIPPINE customs commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon found the wish list of the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) related to rules on the advance manifest “worthy to be looked at”.

In a courtesy call last Wednesday, PISFA officials led by president Irene Manguiat-Tan told Biazon the freight forwarding industry is suffering from onerous penalties on late manifest submission and unclear policies on manifest amendments.

PISFA vice president Erich Lingad for external affairs pointed out BOC processes, including fees, should be aligned with other countries.

He noted Hong Kong only charges US$30 per manifest amendment. This is stark contrast to the P10,000, P20,000 and P30,000 fee slapped for first, second and third offense for late manifest submission.

Lingad said PISFA members handle consolidated cargo equivalent to 500,000 twenty-equivalent units per annum. Each container is covered by five to 10 bills of lading.

Penalties on late submission of manifest for even just a fraction of the 500,000 TEUs could therefore be staggering, he said.

(The penalties on late submission are levied on a per bill of lading; the association wants this changed to per manifest.)

In addition, PISFA is asking BOC to be clear on what exactly constitutes errors that would trigger an amendment. As it is, even minor typographical errors and mistakes in punctuation marks on the manifest require an amendment, the approval of which could take up to three weeks.

Lingad pointed out that in other countries, the approval takes only two to three days.

Much of the problem lies in the fact that the request for an amendment has to go through 13 different divisions of the BOC, including the Office of the Commissioner, before it gets approved.

PISFA wants BOC to define a specific timeline for approval of manifest amendment.

Biazon acknowledged the need to benchmark BOC processes to international standards. “Our direction is really toward harmonizing with other countries as is required under the Revised Kyoto Convention. Our drive is to cut down process flow,” he told his PISFA visitors.

Later in a meeting with reporters, Biazon said: “I agree with them (PISFA) that there’s a big difference between here and the rest of the world. There are too many unnecessary costs. In other countries the fee for late submission of manifest is just $30. Here it ranges from P10,000 to P30,000. There should be some changes.

“What I want is to at least be at par with Asean countries. I agree that the rules should be almost the same as in other countries,” Biazon said.

PISFA will soon submit a position paper to the Office of the Commissioner. Biazon said he will use this as a trigger for reviewing manifest rules.

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