The Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) is requesting the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to review implementation of the reactivated green lane under the agency’s selectivity system amid customs brokers’ reports the new procedure is “confusing and complicated.”
CCBI president Adones Carmona told Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero in a letter dated and received on June 27 that it has been flooded by complaints from member customs brokers, as majority found the reactivated green lane procedure confusing and complicated.
“Undeniably, the process implemented is in complete contravention of the rules on ‘color selectivity’ system,” Carmona said.
Guerrero, in a text message to PortCalls on July 2, said: “We partially restored the green lane to further facilitate trade; however, we have been encountering problems with the selectivity system, and this is the reason for the anomalies which we recently experienced and are now correcting. We are already in the process of procuring a new system to replace the old risk management/selectivity system that we have right now.”
BOC last month reactivated the green lane, after suspending it on August 31, 2017 to conduct a review of its selectivity system. The review was prompted by congressional hearings on how, in May 2017, a P6.5-billion shipment of methamphetamine hydrochloride was directed to the green lane, thus eluding Customs detection.
Under BOC’s selectivity system, or “color selectivity,” shipments classified as low risk are directed to the green lane, where shipments do not require documentary review and inspection. Medium-risk shipments are tagged for the yellow lane and require documentary review, while high-risk cargoes are directed to the red lane for documentary review and inspection.
Prior to the reactivation, Guerrero had said a risk management committee was created to fine tune parameters of the selectivity system.
Carmona said CCBI members have reported, among others, that most of the entries tagged for the green lane, even shipments covered by letters of credit and with proof of payment, were being subjected to the payment of additional duties and taxes.
In a text message to PortCalls, Carmona explained that the additional payment is supposedly for undervaluation. But if this were the case, he noted, the shipments should not have been tagged under green lane.
He said the fact the system tagged an entry under the green lane “would mean that it has successfully satisfied the parameters” set under BOC’s risk management system.
Carmona said billing of additional duties is being questioned by importers since this did not go through the “debiting process to their account.”
He also cited “numerous incidents” of truckers not showing up “due to failure to load shipments”, resulting in incidental charges.
He said CCBI understands BOC’s mandate to collect correct duties and taxes in order to hit government-mandated revenue targets.
“It is, however, our contention that it should be done not at the expense and totally disregarding the rules and procedure of our ‘color selectivity system’,” Carmona said.– Roumina Pablo