CUSTOMS brokers may not be hired as in-house brokers under Republic Act 9280 or the Customs Brokers Act of 2004, stressed the Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc. (CCBI). In its general assembly last week, CCBI – the accredited professional organization under RA 9280 – said customs brokers must remain independent in order not to be used as "dummies". It is feared that corporations would hire brokers in order to perform, in a sense, "indirect practice" of the profession. "Brokers should maintain their independence from corporations. RA 9280 totally bars any relationship between corporations and brokers," CCBI said during the assembly, attended mostly by representatives from corporations offering customs clearance services whose questions dwelled mainly on whether corporate practice may still be allowed under RA 9280. CCBI said that by May 21, the end of the 60-day transitory provision – all transactions with the BOC must be handled by accredited professional customs brokers and that no corporations will be allowed to practice the customs brokerage profession. RA 9280 officially enacted last March 30, 2004 but shelved for the past two years, effectively regulates the practice of the customs brokers’ profession and prohibits corporate practice of customs brokerage. Section 29 of the law specifically provides that the customs broker practice is a professional service and as such, "no firm, company, or association may be registered or licensed as such for the practice of customs broker profession". In addition, Section 28 provides that no person shall practice or offer to practice the profession, or use the title unless one is a registered licensed customs broker.