THE Philippine Bureau of Customs is planning to create an office that will “perpetuate the open-engagement relationship” between customs officials and stakeholders. The agency is also considering a “war room” where all BOC alert orders would be issued.
Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon, in a meeting with various stakeholders, noted the planned establishment of a Customs Trade Facilitation Office (CTFO) under the Office of the Commissioner.
The CTFO is designed to assist the country’s importers and exporters with their customs needs and will be staffed by both customs officials and stakeholders.
“We would like to perpetuate the open-engagement working relationship between customs officials and stakeholders,” Biazon said in a statement.
In a chance interview, Biazon said the CTFO “will serve as the conduit of our stakeholders for their concerns on trade facilitation and other transactions (with) the bureau.”
“Instead of them directing their concerns to the commissioner and then the commissioner acting individually on their concerns, we put up the office so there will be an institutionalized process,” Biazon said.
He added that “regular engagement” of the BOC with stakeholders on policy matters and other concerns will also be handled by the office.
“With the enhanced partnership between the BOC and stakeholders, we should not only be able to improve our services, but, more importantly, we should also be able to apply only the best practices in the industry,” Biazon added.
The meeting was attended by officers of the Port Users Confederation, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, American Chamber of Commerce, Korean Chamber of Commerce and the Asian Development Bank, among others.
It was the first of three meetings to discuss the issues and provisions that would be considered in developing the customs memorandum order creating the CTFO.
“We’ve been given about a month with our working group to sit down with the stakeholders and come up with the customs memorandum order to cover the operations,” Biazon said.
For his part, Customs Deputy Commissioner for Assessment Operations and Coordinating Group Agaton Teodoro Uvero said that considering the nature of the CTFO, it might be wise to open a satellite office in Makati where many exporters and importers are based.
While the CTFO will be manned by concurrent BOC employees, Biazon said eventually the office will have its own plantilla.
Meanwhile, Biazon said he is open to the idea of a “war room” that will handle all alert orders issued by the bureau.
Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement Group and officer-in-charge of Intelligence Group Jessie Dellosa proposed the “one-stop shop” room that will have all the offices needed to issue and lift alert orders.
“We are open to the idea. In fact, it’s a good idea and we will tackle it in our forthcoming meetings with depcomms,” Biazon said.
“We’ve gone over that proposal. I don’t see any problem or difficulty in implementing it except for the capital outlay,” he added.
In an earlier text message to PortCalls, Dellosa said if the war room was created, alert orders would emanate only from that room and nowhere else. –– Roumina M. Pablo
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