Home » Customs & Trade » PRBCB, CCBI looking at legal remedies to "correct" CAO

THE Professional Regulatory Board for Customs Brokers (PRBCB) is contemplating on seeking administrative and legal remedies if the Bureau of Customs (BOC) does not recall Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No 3-2006-A. The CAO operationalizes Republic Act (RA) 9280 or the Customs Brokers Act of 2004 at the BOC.

Looking at a similar course of action is the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI), so far the only accredited professional organization under the CAO.

"If the CAO provisions which are not in accordance with RA 9280 are not corrected immediately, we will be constrained to seek administrative and other legal remedies to enforce the provisions of the law and to uphold our duties and rights under the law as the sole and primary office empowered by law to regulate the practice of the customs broker profession," PRBCB chairman Constantino Calica told <i>PortCalls</i>.

He said at least three cases will be filed against Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Customs commissioner Napoleon Morales, and Customs Accreditation Secretariat and legal division chief Atty. Reynaldo Umali if they insist on enforcing the new provisions.

PRBCB is opposed to the CAO provisions that allowed customs brokerage corporations and freight forwarding firms to lodge customs entries and/or use their employee-customs representatives to transact business at the BOC.

"This provision is illegal and a clear and blatant violation of the spirit, intent and purpose of RA 9280, specifically Sections 27, 28 and 29," Calica explained.

Enacted on March 30, 2004, RA 9280 regulates the practice of the customs brokerage profession. Section 29 of the law describes the customs broker practice as a professional service and, as such, "no firm, company, or association may be registered or licensed as such for the practice of customs broker profession".

Section 28 provides that no person shall practice or offer to practice the profession, or use the title unless one is a registered licensed customs broker.

Calica explained the new CAO provisions also run counter to PRBCB memo circulars 09-2006 and 10-2006, which provide that a custom broker is "not prohibited from being employed by a forwarding firm as a consultant, manager or in any administrative position." However, he "cannot act as customs broker for and in behalf of the firm which employed him or use the latter’s representatives to perform the services of customs broker under Subsection (d) of Sec. 6 or the IRR (implementing rules and regulations) of RA 9280 as the nature of his profession calls for his independence," the ruling stressed.

The PRBCB also explained such would run contrary to the provision of Sec. 29 of RA 9280. "To allow the employee customs broker of the forwarding company to transact customs business in behalf of his employer forwarder is an indirect violation of the law prohibiting corporate practice of customs broker," it said.

Calica added: "As to the employment of customs brokers by companies, the employee-customs broker loses his independence as an accredited customs brokers and runs counter to the objectives of RA 9280, which is the professionalization of customs broker. It is common knowledge that the moment an accredited customs broker is employed, his impartiality is questionable for his loyalty is primarily to his employer."

"As long as RA 9280 is not repealed or otherwise amended by Congress, it stands as a law and we must implement and enforce it," Calica stressed.

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