Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » Customs chief bars gatekeepers, customs police from terminal gates

Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña on Monday ordered the immediate removal of some customs personnel assigned at the terminal gates to simplify customs processes.

The policy will be enforced initially in four ports: Manila and Batangas, operated by Asian Terminals Inc.; and Subic and Manila International Container Port (MICP), operated by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

The directive prohibits customs gatekeepers of Pier and Inspection Division (PID) and customs police of Enforcement and Security Services (ESS) from checking the gate pass at the terminal gates.

“What they actually do is redundant because port operators already have a working system to check the entry and exit of containers. If the trucks are given the go-signal to leave the terminals, then we have to release them from the ports at once,” Lapeña explained at a walk-through inspection at MICP.

Lapeña said document checking by gatekeepers is unnecessary since documents have already been checked prior to cargo release.

Prior to the new directive, shipments without gate passes were prevented by gatekeepers from leaving the customs zone. In addition, gatekeepers would check, among others, the container number and registry number of the carrying vessel.

Port operators are, however, equipped with a barcode scanning system–a system which already captures shipment details of containers marked for release.

Lapeña said the bureau is coordinating with port operators to fully implement the automated system in the terminals.

The ESS guards, on the other hand, are in charge of security of the entire port.  The terminals, although managed by private operators, are considered an extension of BOC jurisdiction.

Lapeña said cargoes marked for release should no longer be subject to further scrutiny by ESS guards at the gates.

“I am also hearing negative feedback as to the alleged conspiracy among PID gatekeepers and ESS guards before cargoes are released at the gates.  This has to stop immediately,” Lapeña said.

The ports’ respective district collectors are given the authority to determine new tasks for BOC personnel affected by the new directive.

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