Convene CMTA oversight body to check issuances, CCBI urges Congress


The Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) is requesting Congress to convene the Congressional Customs and Tariff Oversight Committee (COCTOC) to review Bureau of Customs (BOC) issuances on and implementation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

In a resolution adopted and signed by CCBI directors and officers and sent to Senate president Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on February 13, the chamber noted “it has been over three years since the CMTA was passed and there has been no proper and actual monitoring of the implementation of the CMTA, particularly on provisions that require CAOs (customs administrative orders).”

Since 2016, there have been 25 relevant CAOs and four customs memorandum orders (CMO) implementing the CMTA, the chamber said.

Signed into law in May 2016, Republic Act (RA) No. 10863, also known as the CMTA, updates and aligns the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines with international standards and overhauls and harmonizes BOC’s operations. Under the law, the finance secretary should, upon the recommendation of the customs commissioner, promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the CMTA.

CCBI claimed there have been some CAOs and CMOs issued by BOC “not in accord with the CMTA, effectively hindering the free flow of trade and commerce.”

These include:

  • Memorandum 2019-05-025 on the National Value Verification System (NVVS);
  • CMO 29-2019 on lowering the number of days for lodgement of goods from 15 days as provided under Section 407 of the CMTA to seven days; and
  • CMO 34-2019 providing interim guidelines implementing Sections 106 (Declarant) and 107 (Rights and Responsibilities of the Declarant) of the CMTA.
  • Memorandum dated 2019-09-25 on the 3 P.M. cut-off for filing in order to prevent the slowdown of the BOC’s electronic-to-mobile (e2m) system; and
  • Memorandum on No-Contact Policy

Port users’ groups, particularly CCBI, have been airing their concern that these policies are affecting shipment processing. On the NVVS, the Lower House Committee on Ways and Means has already convened a technical working group with BOC to address issues on the system.

READ: BOC-House technical working group to review NVVS

RELATED: Customs brokers seek clarity over confusing goods declaration lodgement period

CCBI said there is a need to review those BOC issuances “to ascertain whether or not said issuances are in conformity or with the tenets and intention of the CMTA.”

COCTOC was created under Section 1700 of the CMTA to monitor and ensure the proper implementation of the law, and review BOC’s collection performance and implementation of its programs.

In a presentation during a Lower House Committee on Ways and Means briefing on November 27, 2019, BOC assistant commissioner and spokesperson Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla said BOC had so far issued 26 CAOs and was set to issue 22 more CAOs implementing sections of the CMTA.

READ: Customs set to issue 22 more CAOs on CMTA

Of the 22 CAOs for issuance, 10 are already under review by the Department of Finance (DOF), nine have been reverted to BOC for revision, and three CAOs are with BOC to be transmitted to DOF for review and approval.

For CMOs, which are implementing orders for CAOs, four have been signed, six are pending and for signature, and 10 are for review by BOC’s Project Management Office (PMO).

BOC Revenue Collection Monitoring Group deputy commissioner Atty. Vener Baquiran, during the same hearing last year, explained that only 40 CAOs had initially been programmed for issuance. But the bureau, after reviewing the law, discovered more sections that were not self-executory and needed implementing guidelines.

He said the target was to finish all pending CAOs within 2019 while all corresponding CMOs would be issued in 2020.

Meanwhile, BOC is proposing the amendment of several sections of the CMTA, including those covering dispute settlement and protest, de minimis, compulsory acquisition/forfeiture fund, restricted goods, temporary storage of goods, informal entry, bonded warehouse, abandonment, disposition of goods, control over customs bonded warehouse/customs facilities, goods declaration and period of filing, and supervision of third parties. – Roumina Pablo