Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Home Customs & Trade BOC amends rules on third-party witnesses at exam of alerted shipments

BOC amends rules on third-party witnesses at exam of alerted shipments

Image by Wolfgang Schröpfer from Pixabay

Effective August 5, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will no longer require a third-party representative to witness the examination of an alerted shipment if, despite due notice, the concerned importer, exporter, or customs broker does not appear.

Aside from notifying the importer, exporter, and customs broker, the district collector or his authorized representative shall also notify the “third-party monitor” of the date, time, and place of examination of the alerted shipment so the third-party representative can witness the activity.

If the importer, exporter, customs broker or third-party monitor fails to appear despite due notice, it “shall be considered as waiver on their part, and shall not bar the conduct of physical examination or non-intrusive inspection,” Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 41-2019 states.

The new order amends the second paragraph of Section 3.9 of CMO 07-2019 in order “to expedite and ensure that no unnecessary delay is incurred in the conduct of examination of alerted shipments.”

Previously, under CMO 07-2019, which contains the revised rules on the electronic/manual issuance and lifting of alert orders, if the importer, exporter, or customs broker fails to appear despite due notice, the examination shall proceed with a representative of the Chamber of Customs  Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) or any disinterested party as witness.

CCBI and BOC in March 2018 signed a memorandum of agreement in which the customs bureau may, if the cargo owners are absent, request personnel and experts from the chamber to act as witnesses and observers during the physical examination of alerted shipments. The MOA aimed to, among others, prevent delays in the examination of alerted shipments that stem from the absence of cargo owners or customs brokers.

BOC assistant commissioner and spokesperson Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla told PortCalls in a text message that the MOA between BOC and CCBI—which is considered a third-party monitor—“remains in force and if at all is supplemented by the provisions of the CMO.”

The new CMO just means that if CCBI, as a third-party monitor, was notified of the examination but no representative was available, BOC could still proceed with examining the alerted shipment. – Roumina Pablo

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