The Philippine Bureau of Customs has formalized the four types of shipments exempt from the red lane and would thus be tagged under yellow lane.
Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña in a memorandum dated October 13 but signed October 18 officially implemented a directive he issued on October 12 that exempted several shipments from being tagged under the red lane.
The October 18 memorandum ordered shipments bound for Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) zones, perishable goods except those originating from China, cargoes of multinational companies, and shipments for government projects directed to the yellow lane, effectively exempting them from x-ray inspection under the red lane. All such shipments tagged under the red lane and had already undergone documentary review prior to the new directive will be rerouted to the yellow lane.
The exemption addresses the long queues of trucks at terminals that had resulted from a September 29 BOC memo raising the threshold for container shipments that must go through the red lane from 20% to 80% daily; the same order also mandated all red lane shipments to undergo x-ray inspection. The Sept 29 directive, Lapeña said, is designed to “safeguard the revenue collection efforts of the bureau” and is “part of the intensified campaign against smuggling and other forms of violations of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and other related laws.”
Previously, shipments directed to the red lane (high-risk goods) comprised only 20% of the daily total number of cargoes entering the Philippines, while 60% were tagged under the yellow lane (medium risk), and 20% under the green lane (low risk).
Before the September 29 order, shipments tagged under the red lane were subject to documentary review and inspection—the latter either through x-ray or physical inspection. With Lapeña’s September 29 directive, all shipments directed to the red lane will automatically undergo x-ray inspection. Only shipments that show “suspicious images” on x-ray examination will undergo physical inspection, according to the memo.
The rules on yellow lane shipments (they need to undergo documentary review) and green lane shipments (released with neither review nor inspection) are unchanged. But on August 30, Lapeña suspended the green lane, which means that currently, shipments are directed to either the yellow or red lane.
Shipments of importers accredited with BOC’s Super Green Lane, the facility that allows advance processing and clearance of shipments for qualified importers, have not been affected by any of the new orders. – Roumina Pablo
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