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BOC forms public assistance unit

ID-100213432The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has created an internal customer assistance unit that will resolve inquiries and concerns of stakeholders and the transacting public, including those on airport and seaport operations, valuation, and imports and exports.

The newly established BOC Customer Assistance and Response Services (BOC-CARES) is tasked to serve as “the front line for stakeholder interaction providing efficient and effective mechanism to address BOC related inquiries and concerns of transacting public.”

According to BOC Public Information and Assistance Division (PIAD) chief Rossbelle Maestro, the unit will be a “one-stop shop for all customs services related concerns, not only for general public but also importers and exporters.”

It also aims to “enhance the positive reputation of the agency through an ensured continuous facilitation of customer service management.”

BOC-CARES was created through Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 10-2016, signed by Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina on May 23. The new group will be supervised directly by BOC’s Internal Administration Group (IAG), and managed by PIAD, which had previously overseen this type of activity.

A unit head, client service representatives, client service officers (CSOs), and a resolutions team make up the new unit.

Under the CMO, the PIAD chief will oversee and take charge of the unit’s overall operations, including staffing and other administrative concerns, as well as report to the IAG deputy commissioner.

Meanwhile, “all internal offices of the bureau are mandated to 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 adds.

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 that 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 IAG, with the approval of the Commissioner. Otherwise, it shall operate from 7am to 7pm, Mondays to Fridays,” the order says.

BOC-CARES will initially use a local number as it moves to secure a toll-free number for nationwide use. CMO 10-2016 said expenses of the new unit and its staff will be shouldered by the BOC.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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