Queries on the status of parcels and balikbayan or personal items boxes, updates on the accreditation request of importers and customs brokers, and issues regarding the National Single Window (NSW) emerged as the top concerns of stakeholders and the general public that initiate contact with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of the Philippines.
BOC, at the formal launch of its Customer Assistance and Response Service and Assistance Center (BOC CARES) on June 14, said that since the dry run of the customer service center on April 12, it has so far handled a total of 1,699 cases.
BOC CARES is a unit of the Public Information and Assistance Division (PIAD) that addresses and resolves the inquiries and concerns of stakeholders and the transacting public, including questions about airport and seaport operations, valuation, and imports and exports.
Of the total cases handled, 1,680 cases have been resolved while 19 cases remain active.
In a separate statement, BOC said most of the concerns received by BOC CARES centered on updates on the accreditation status of importers and customs brokers, queries regarding the NSW, status of parcels and balikbayan boxes, as well as contact details of BOC officials and offices.
The unit’s frontliners include nine customer service representatives (CSOs) working under the guidance of client service officers trained on basic customs operations.
For issues that CSOs can’t handle, a resolutions team and subject matter experts, who are licensed customs brokers, have been deployed to extend help.
Aside from concerns about BOC operations, Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina said concerns about corrupt BOC officials may also be submitted to BOC CARES.
BOC-CARES was created through Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 10-2016, signed by Lina on May 23. Under the CMO, the PIAD chief will oversee the unit’s overall operations, including staffing and other administrative concerns, as well as report to the IAG deputy commissioner.
Internal offices of the BOC must “provide and extend support and cooperation to the Unit and shall designate a focal person in charge of addressing concerns endorsed by the Resolutions Team. Relevant information shall be accorded including, but not limited to, information on port (air and sea) operations, valuation, imports and exports, for purposes of providing customer information and resolution of legitimate concerns,” the memorandum said.
The various offices of the customs agency, through designated focal persons, should provide BOC-CARES needed information within three days of receiving inquiries or requests for verification from the CSOs or resolutions team.
Moreover, BOC’s Management Information Systems and Technology Group must ensure the unit’s customer relationship management software and telephony system are fully functional and properly maintained and supported.
“The unit is designed to operate 24/7 and shall operate as such upon the recommendation of the Deputy Commissioner for lAG, with the approval of the Commissioner. Otherwise, it shall operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays to Fridays,” the order said. Lina said BOC CARES will be initially operating from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
BOC CARES may be reached at 02-7056000 and email email@example.com.
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