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BOC consolidates rules on penalties for breaking accreditation guidelines

  • Customs Memorandum Order No. 12-2021 consolidates various guidelines on the imposition of penalties related to accreditation of importers and customs brokers
  • CMO 12-2021 also establishes the procedure for imposing penalties, which include warning, suspension, and revocation of accreditation
  • All pending requests to reactivate the accreditation prior to effectivity of CMO 12-2021 will be turned over to the Legal Service for resolution

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has consolidated into one order various guidelines on the imposition of penalties relative to the accreditation of importers and customs brokers.

Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 12-2021 also establishes the procedure for imposition of penalties and the appropriate remedial process.

Under CMO 12-2021, BOC will impose sanctions such as warning, suspension, or revocation of customs accreditation for breach of the importer’s responsibilities and violation of customs laws, rules and regulations. The importer or customs broker will also be blacklisted from further transacting with BOC after due notice and hearing.

The accreditation of importer or customs broker may be preliminarily suspended pending administrative proceedings “to ensure border protection, suppress all forms of smuggling and other frauds committed against collection of lawful revenues,” CMO 12-2021 noted.

All goods imported into the Philippines will be deemed to be the property of the consignee or holder of the bill of lading (B/L), airway bill (AWB), or other transport documents if duly endorsed by the consignee, or if consigned to order, duly endorsed by the consignor.

A customs broker acting as declarant will be presumed to be the agent of the consignee or importer, and as such, may be accountable and liable for any violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff (CMTA) and other related laws.

Penalties under CMO 12-2021 are to be imposed without prejudice to the criminal, civil and other liabilities that may be incurred under CMTA and other customs laws, rules or regulations.

BOC will impose the preliminary suspension on the importer or customs broker on the following grounds:

  • When the importation contains any prohibited or restricted goods without the permit or clearance from the regulatory agency, even for the first offense.
  • Those whose shipments have been forfeited within the preceding period of one year for violation of the provisions of the CMTA and other customs laws, rules or regulations.
  • Other analogous  circumstances at the discretion of the Customs commissioner.

The importer or customs broker whose accreditation has been preliminarily suspended may request for the continuous processing of the shipments which are still in transit or which have arrived at the ports prior to the suspension. This request should be filed with BOC’s Legal Service for resolution, subject to the approval of the Customs commissioner.

The importer or customs broker should also indicate that should the request be given due course, the 100% physical examination of the goods, regardless of the selectivity screen, will be conducted on their own account.

Once the request is approved by the Customs commissioner, BOC’s Account Management Office (AMO) will inform the importer or customs broker, with lodgment allowed only for B/Ls or AWBs listed in the request. AMO is the BOC unit handling accreditation.

Lodgment of goods declaration other than those approved will be deemed unauthorized and subject to penalties.

After due notice and hearing, BOC will impose the following penalities:

  • Light infractions – suspension of customs accreditation privileges for one month to six months
  • Less grave infractions – suspension of customs accreditation privileges for six months and one day to 12 months
  • Grave infractions – cancellation or revocation of customs accreditation privileges

The importer and customs broker may file a motion for reconsideration with the Customs commissioner within 15 days from receipt of notice of suspension, revocation, and/or blacklisting.

If an accreditation has been suspended, a request for continuous processing may also be submitted to AMO, indicating that should the request be given due course, the 100% physical examination of the goods, regardless of the selectivity screen, will be conducted on their own account.

The continuous processing, as approved by the Customs commissioner, will be applicable only to the B/Ls indicated in the request. The one-time activation of the Client Profile Registration System, as provided in previous rules and regulations, will no longer apply.

All pending requests or motions for reactivation with the AMO prior to the effectivity of CMO 12-2021 wil be turned over to the Legal Service for resolution. – Roumina Pablo

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