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12-hour manifest rule faces implementation delays

THE implementation of the 12-hour advance inward foreign manifest requirement may be moved further as other projects vital to its enforcement have yet to be completed, according to Bureau of Customs (BOC) deputy commissioner Reynaldo Nicolas.

In an interview, Nicolas hinted to PortCalls the earliest implementation of the requirement would be toward the end of the first semester.

He said projects on which the IFM hinges, such as the accreditation of BOC’s value-added service providers (VASP) and the shift to AsycudaWorld, are not expected to be completed and tested until June.

“The inward foreign manifest requirement implementation is dependent on the implementation of these two vital projects without which the manifest requirement is a no go,”Nicolas explained.

He added that a parallel filing of the advance manifest may required by the BOC once it starts pilot testing AsycudaWorld by the second quarter of the year. However, Nicolas stressed that the full benefits of the IFM will not kick in until BOC has accredited its VASPs and AsycudaWorld is fully operational.

Originally, the 12-hour advance cargo manifest requirement was scheduled to be enforced March 1 but was later tentatively moved to May 1.

Based on the original BOC timeline, the bureau should have accredited its VASPs and implemented AsycudaWorld by now. According to sources, the BOC is still evaluating candidate VASPs while the implementation of AsycudaWorld has been reset to July.

Under Customs Administrative Order 1-2007, the BOC is requiring all shippers and vessel operators to submit IFMs and consolidated cargo manifests not later than 12 hours prior to the cargoes’ arrival in any Philippine port to evaluate the risk of smuggling and, possibly, terrorism. The BOC expects accurate data through electronic transfer coursed either straight to the BOC or any of its accredited VASPs. Hard copies are required for submission immediately upon arrival.

Earlier, the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association expressed concerns over the order, specifically with regard to cargoes from Asian countries departing during the weekend with arrivals on the same weekend or the following Monday. It argued there is no time to properly comply with the requirement since by the time the local agent becomes aware of the details of the shipment, the said cargoes would have already arrived — in which case there would already have been a violation.

“This will not happen. In crafting the order, we already considered the nearest port of origin and there is no way that they can inform the BOC at least 12 hours even during weekends,”Nicolas explained.


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