Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero confirmed in text messages to PortCalls that BOC will defer adoption of Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 05-2019 and conduct a stakeholders’ consultation first.
“There should be stakeholders’ consultation in the drafting of CMO,” Guerrero said.
He later issued a memo on the indefinite suspension of the CMO, saying that even if the order should already take effect on March 15, 2019 – following the Feb 13 publication in a newspaper of general circulation – “there is a need to conduct further consultations with the concerned stakeholders in order to fully address the other related concerns that were not considered in the crafting of the said rules and regulations.” The memo was dated Feb 19.
Negative industry reaction
The Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations (ACTOO) and Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI), in separate letters to Guerrero, said no public consultation had been conducted before CMO 05-2019 was issued.
CMO 05-2019, signed on February 4, provides the rules and regulations on the registration of truckers pursuant to Section 1226 (Supervision and Regulation of Third Parties) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). This section states that “third parties transacting with the Bureau on behalf of importers and consignees shall be treated equally as true importers or consignees.” Truckers are considered as a third party provider.
CMO 05-2019 covers all truckers transporting import and export cargoes.
The term “truckers,” the CMO notes, shall refer to operators of land carriers that transport imported goods from the port of entry to another port of entry as exit point, customs facilities and warehouses, customs bonded warehouses, Freeport zones, and to the consignee’s premises.
The new order is meant to identify and recognize truckers that may be authorized to transact with BOC in relation to the transport of imported goods. It is also meant to gather information on truckers to establish a database for risk management and enforcement, and improve compliance level for trade facilitation.
Stakeholders, however, have voiced issues over the new policy, which requires truckers to register first with BOC’s Account Management Office.
Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) chairman Ruperto Bayocot earlier told PortCalls they opposed the policy, calling it “redundant,” as truckers already comply with the franchising requirement of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and secure a permit to operate (PTO) from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). Aside from the PTO, the PPA is also set to require a separate registration for trucks soon.
According to CTAP, the documentary requirements set under CMO 05-2019 are almost the same requirements for the proposed PPA accreditation.
ACTOO president Ricardo Papa, in a letter to Guerrero dated February 19, also raised their objection to the policy, noting that truckers are already “overly regulated by both the public and private sectors.”
Aside from LTFRB and PPA, Papa noted that truckers need to register with and are regulated by the Land Transportation Office, Department of Trade and Industry (for business permits), Securities and Exchange Commission, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and local government units.
He claimed that CMO 05-2019 violates the Ease of Doing Business Act as requirements under the order are already being required by other government agencies already regulating truckers.
Papa argued that BOC has no jurisdiction over truckers, saying that “goods and containers that are loaded on trucks and allowed outside the area managed by the arrastre operators should have already been cleared by customs.”
“The moment that the goods are released from customs custody, BOC loses jurisdiction over them,” he said, adding that truckers are “merely hired by the customs brokers and importers to haul and deliver the cargo from point A to point B after the customs broker/importer secures customs clearance.”
Papa pointed out that truckers are in no way involved in the process of securing clearance for shipments from BOC as this is beyond the scope of trucking services.
His organization also opposes the P50,000 security bond to be imposed on truckers during the transfer of a shipment from port of entry to other ports, saying it is “absurd and illogical” when during the entire time of transit, “the goods are supposed to be under the control and supervision of a customs guard.”
Papa said this requirement will only be another source of corruption. – Roumina Pablo