Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » To GPS or not to GPS, that is the PH customs question

The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) wants to explore other cargo tracking technologies aside from global positioning system earlier pushed under the GPS-Equipped Barrier Seal (GPSEBS) project.

“We need to address the electronic track-and-trace system under the GPSEBS so we are taking another study focused on the (cheapest) technology available,” Customs commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon said at the sidelines of a recent industry affair in Manila.

One of those being looked at, he noted, is the radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, mainly because it is cheaper, easier to use, and can be used for other operations at the bureau.

In a separate meeting with officials of the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association, Biazon pointed out identification cards of BOC personnel already come with RFID technology but that the cards are not currently used for any particular purpose.

The irony isn’t lost on him, he said. “Ideally we should be able to tell where our employees are all the time with that technology.”

Specifically, the technology may be used to track which BOC personnel is doing what task. This, he said, should increase transparency and accountability, possibly minimizing corruption.

The more expensive GPS technology was initially being pushed for its ability to track cargo movement minute by minute, the commissioner said. “GPS is a superior technology but that’s like killing a fly with a hammer. I don’t think we really need to track our cargo that closely. All we need to know is if the cargo left and arrived at the right destination.”

The GPS device would also supposedly immediately alert Philippine National Police (PNP) authorities when there is unauthorized opening of container doors. To this, Biazon quipped: “But how sure are you that the PNP will respond quickly?”

Société Generale de Surveillance has earlier been named as the GPSEBS service provider by the BOC.

The use of the GPS-equipped barrier seal is contained in Customs Administrative Order 4-2010 which requires cargo owners to equip their cargo with the device to allow BOC to track and monitor cargoes to their destination.

GPS by digitalart

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