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Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero has ordered all Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials and employees to collect only authorized fees and charges from the transacting public.

Under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 30-2019, with the subject “Allowed Fees and Charges Imposed by the Bureau of Customs”, the Customs chief said any unauthorized collection or illegal imposition of fees and charges “shall be criminally and administratively charged and punished to the full extent of the law.”

The existing fees and charges are listed as an annex to CMO 30-2019. The order was signed on June 18.

In a separate statement, BOC noted that the new order was issued “due to the issue of unjust fees being charged by unscrupulous individuals allegedly in favor of BOC, all customs officials and employees entrusted with the collection of taxes, fees, and other imports are enjoined to strictly comply with the said order.”

BOC said CMO 30-2019 was issued to “ensure collection of lawful fees and charges by customs employees and brokers.”

CMO 30-2019 noted specific acts or omissions considered in violation paragraph 2, Article 213 of the Revised Penal Code, which include demanding directly or indirectly the payment of sums different from or larger than those authorized by law; failing voluntarily to issue a receipt, as provided by law, for any sum of money collected officially; and collecting or receiving, directly or indirectly, by way of payment or otherwise things or objects of a nature different from that provided by law.

CMO 30-2019 noted that private persons, customs brokers, and importers when conspiring with BOC officials and employees may be dealt with in accordance with the law, in consonance with the policy of the ant-graft law.

BOC reminded importers to remain vigilant against illegal practices such as collection and imposition of unjust fees and charges by dishonest individuals. Stakeholders and victims of such deceitful acts are also encouraged to report the incidents to the Office of the Commissioner. – Roumina Pablo

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