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File photo from the Bureau of Customs when counterfeit beauty products were destroyed last September.

Representatives from the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) Office of the Commissioner (OCOM) are no longer required to be present during the examination of all alerted shipments, condemnation of goods, and auction proceedings, according to Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

The customs chief in Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 21-2018 revoked Customs Special Order (CSO) No. 04-2018 dated January 11, 2018, which designated the presence of OCOM representatives during the conduct of examination of alerted shipments, condemnation of goods, and auction proceedings.

CMO 21-2018 was signed on November 22 and took effect immediately.

Guerrero instead ordered district collectors having jurisdiction over the goods “to control and supervise the proper conduct of the required physical examination or non-intrusive examination based on the approved rules and regulations, consistent with CMO No. 19-2018, dated November 2018.”

(It must be noted though that CMO 19-2018, dated Nov 12, 2018 and which provides new guidelines for issuing alert orders, has been suspended with the issuance of CMO 20-2018 on Nov 14.)

Under CMO No. 21-2018, the result of the examination shall be contained in an alert order report form bearing findings of the assigned examiner, a certificate stating that the goods are either perishable or non-perishable, and the recommendation for the approval of the district collector. The alert order report shall be submitted to the OCOM or to the district collectors within 48 hours after the examination is finished, or in the case of perishable goods, within 24 hours.

No follow-ups at X-ray offices

In a separate order, BOC X-ray Inspection Project (XIP) head Atty. Zsae Carrier De Guzman ordered all x-ray field officers and inspectors to prohibit all importers, customs brokers, and other customs stakeholders from staying inside the premises and offices of XIP to follow up on their shipments due for examination. This after Guerrero gave a verbal instruction during an executive committee meeting to do away with face-to-face transactions between customs stakeholders and BOC personnel “to avoid any appearance of improper dealings and corrupt activities.”

Instead, stakeholders who wish to follow up on the status of their shipment should submit a written request. – Roumina Pablo

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