Covax Importation Unit created to ensure speedy processing and monitoring of imported COVID-19 vaccines
Bureau of Customs’ one-stop shop at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to help process and release approved vaccines
BOC also expects imports of processed and canned meat and pork products to grow following extension of 5% tariff on imported mechanically deboned meat of chicken and turkey
The agency anticipates higher minimum access volume allocation for pork to stabilize supply and prices in the market
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has created a unit that will facilitate the entry of COVID-19 vaccines even the agency prepares for the expected influx of processed and canned meat and pork products this year.
BOC recently created a Covax Importation Unit that will ensure the smooth and speedy processing and monitoring of imported COVID-19 vaccines.
The unit will also coordinate with the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and other concerned agencies on vaccine-related matters, BOC said in a statement.
BOC’s one-stop shop at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will help in the processing and releasing of approved vaccines, as well as personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and other goods essential in the fight against COVID-19, provided all regulated goods are compliant with the required permits.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. earlier said the government targets acquiring 148 million vaccine doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different firms.
Imports of meat
BOC is also expecting an increase in the volume of importation of processed and canned meat and pork products following the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 123. The order extends until December 31, 2022 a lower tariff of 5% earlier imposed on imported mechanically deboned meat of chicken and turkey.
EO 123 notes that with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, “there is an urgent need to adopt measures aimed towards mitigating the adverse impacts of the current situation on the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos.”
Moreover, the Department of Agriculture recently announced the possible increase in the minimum access volume allocation for pork to stabilize its supply and prices in the market.
With these recent developments, BOC said it has been strengthening its trade facilitation programs and activities to ensure the continued supply of essential food products.
Since last year BOC has been establishing its Customer Care Centers (CCC), which are one-stop shop facilities for customs-related transactions, at its 17 collection districts to assist stakeholders. BOC said it will also continuously dispose of overstaying containers “to ensure unhampered delivery of services and avoid possible port congestion.”
On border security, BOC is implementing measures to ensure all arriving shipments are compliant with customs laws, rules, and regulations.
Portal x-ray machines capable of scanning 160 containers per hour, or 3,840 containers per day, have also been installed in major ports—Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, Cebu, and Davao.
BOC also established a Customs Operations Center to strengthen its command and control of intelligence and enforcement operations at its 17 collection districts. The center manages BOC systems such as the Intelligence Database, Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo System, and Vessel Monitoring System. It also provides remote access to BOC’s x-ray system and serves as a fusion center to integrate and analyze intelligence, enforcement, and operational information gathered from various sources.
Moreover, BOC is now implementing its Universal Risk Management System to enhance risk- and compliance-prediction capabilities against illicit trade and customs fraud.