Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » BOC rules on zero contact policy in place from March 23

BOC zero contact policyThe Bureau of Customs (BOC) rolled out guidelines for implementation of a Zero-Contact Policy at assessment offices. The policy aims to promote a corruption-free regime by minimizing face-to-face transaction and encouraging online submission of the goods declaration.

Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 08-2020 takes effect on March 23 and applies to all licensed customs brokers, declarants, importers, customs brokers’ representatives, and other stakeholders and clients with direct dealings with BOC, such as in the processing of goods declaration filed with the assessment offices of the bureau, through stakeholder engagement meetings, and other official events and activities.

The order is timely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. An enhanced community quarantine is currently in place over the entire Luzon, with the public ordered to stay home except for those employed in enterprises exempt from the travel restrictions. For such enterprises, a skeletal workforce is in place.

Under CMO 08-2020, focuments to be filed with BOC should be submitted in hard copy and in electronic portable document format (PDF).

The hard copies of the goods declaration and the supporting documents must be placed in a long brown envelop.

PDF copies should have a resolution of at least 600dpi; each document should be submitted as a separate file.

The hard copy of the goods declaration and its corresponding attachments should be submitted to the Customer Care Center (CCC) that will be established in all ports.

The CCCs will serve as the port’s receiving unit for all submitted import documents. If a CCC is not yet operational at the port, the documents should be submitted to the Entry Processing Unit or its equivalent unit.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero earlier told PortCalls the target was to establish CCCs at all major ports, with three initial ones to be installed this year. A CCC was inaugurated at the Port of Manila last February, and the next one will be at the Manila International Container Port.

Soft copies of the scanned documents will be submitted either by electronic mail through the Customs Care Portal System (CCPS), or on an external drive (USB flash drive) to be delivered simultaneously with the hard copy. The external drive will be returned to the client after the files are downloaded.

CCPS is a web-based application introduced in June 2019 that allows stakeholders to electronically submit their concerns, complaints, feedback, or suggestions as well as upload documents using the portal. Issues, concerns and requests are assigned a unique ticket number that clients can use to track the progress and responses online.

If additional documents need to be submitted, clients will be asked to submit the soft copy through the CCPS and/or external drive and the hard copies to the CCC (if applicable) or EPU/equivalent unit.

CMO 08-2020 noted that clients can verify the status of their goods declaration anytime using BOC’s Goods Declaration Verification System (GDVS), or the clients may open a ticket in the CCPS.

GDVS is a Web-based queue management system available on BOC’s website that allows stakeholders to get real-time updates on the status of their goods declaration.

Only one ticket per goods declaration may be allowed; duplicate tickets will be closed.

If a client or BOC officer requests for personal appearance due to valid reasons, such as witnessing an actual physical examination, a ticket for appointment should be opened in the CCPS.

Requests for visits will need approval by the district collector upon recommendation of the Formal Entry Division (FED) chief. No appointment ticket will be granted for follow-ups of the status of the goods declaration as these can be done online or through the GDVS.

No stakeholder inside the Assessment Area will be used for stakeholder engagement meetings and other official events and activities to be conducted within the premises of BOC. The requesting office will be responsible for creating the appointment ticket for the invited guests or resource persons and should ensure that the access pass ID is already available upon arrival.

If the system malfunctions or the CCPS link becomes inaccessible, an alternate link will be provided as a redundant and backup system where the importer/declarant may follow up or inquire on the status of the goods declaration filed with the EPU.

District collectors are directed to create their respective Port Transition Teams to address possible concerns from both BOC personnel and external stakeholders and to receive feedback and monitor stakeholder satisfaction where knowledgeable employees will at all times be made available for consultation and advice.

District collectors should also take the lead in an information dissemination campaign for the Zero-Contact Policy, and prepare and implement a comprehensive and strategic communication plan to educate and engage all stakeholders on a continuing basis. The district collectors should also institute hotline numbers, information communication technology or other mechanisms by which stakeholders can adequately express their complaints, comments or suggestions.

CMO 08-2020 complies with  implementing rules of Republic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, particularly Rule V, Section 1, which orders all government units to adopt a zero-contact policy. – Roumina Pablo

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