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The Bureau of Customs (BOC) eyes pilot testing by June 15 of an electronic system that promotes transparency and accountability among customs personnel involved in the issuance and lifting of alert orders.

The system is part of an effort to further protect integrity of the alert order system and facilitate monitoring of disposition of issued alert orders to ensure compliance with Section 1111 (Alert orders) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in a memorandum dated May 21.

In view of this, Guerrero ordered the Intelligence Group deputy commissioner, Alert Order Clearing House Desk (AOCHD) acting chief, and district collectors to resolve all pending alert orders before June 15.

“By this date, we should not have any pending alerts as we pilot the new system,” the Customs chief said.

In addition, “to avoid needless delays in the processing of lifting of alert orders,” Guerrero in a separate memorandum dated May 20 ordered the same officials to communicate directly to the BOC group, division, and respective ports any action, confirmation, and additional requirements for the lifting of the alert order prior to forwarding the disposition form to the Customs commissioner.

Guerrero also said they must ensure that completed staff work has been undertaken before the request to lift the alert order is forwarded to the Office of the Commissioner for approval or denial.

Last March, Guerrero said BOC would install a document management system to help track BOC records, files, and documents, including alert orders.

Alert orders shall be issued based on derogatory information, pursuant to Section 1111 of the CMTA.

Under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 07-2018 (Revised Rules for the Electronic/Manual Issuance and Lifting of Alert Orders at All Ports of Entry), only the Customs commissioner, the district collectors, and other customs officials authorized in writing by the Customs chief may issue alert orders.

In a memo dated January 4, 2019, all requests to lift alert orders on shipments would have to be coursed through the IG deputy commissioner for his concurrence.

In CMO 06-2019, dated February 11 and signed February 12, all alert orders should be validated, dated, assigned a unique reference number in series, and monitored by the AOCHD. All alert orders for issuance shall be coursed through the AOCHD. – Roumina Pablo

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