Home » 3PL/4PL, Customs & Trade, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » PPA requires customs brokers to submit request for accreditation exemption

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is requiring customs brokers to file a request for exemption from PPA’s new accreditation requirement so they can continue to provide brokerage services at ports.

Administrative Order (AO) No. 07-2019 was issued after the PPA Board approved customs brokers’ plea for exemption from the agency’s new accreditation requirement contained in AO No. 06-2019, which took effect on August 7.

READ: PPA requires accreditation for all port service providers

Effective October 16, AO 07-2019 exempts licensed customs brokers from AO 06-2019 but requires a letter of request for exemption to be filed with the port management office (PMO) holding jurisdiction over the port or ports where they intend to provide brokerage services.

Customs brokers shall also provide a photocopy of their Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) identification card, Certificate of Good Standing issued by the PRC or Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI); and certified list of regular clients served at the port.

Customs brokers filing for exemption must pay a non-refundable fee of P500, and may still be required additional documents by the PMO to aid in the evaluation of their exemption request.

If the submitted documents are in order, the PMO port manager will issue a Certificate of Exemption and the customs broker will be included in the PMO’s database of exempted customs brokers. Exemption from accreditation is valid only for one year.

AO 07-2019 noted that the Certificate of Exemption is a valid documentary requirement in applying for port permits and security passes.

AO 06-2019 requires all port service providers to secure accreditation from PPA before the port services contract or permit to operate (PTO) is awarded.

But some stakeholders, specifically those previously not required to seek accreditation, have asked for exemption from the new policy.

READ: Industry groups vs PPA accreditation rule for port service providers

Conditions for exemption

The exemption is also subject to several conditions, one of which is that the customs broker should also not be engaged in port and port ancillary services that require accreditation from PPA.

The customs brokers should also not be applying for a Permit to Occupy for purposes of leasing an office within the port or be currently holding office inside the port.

Further, the customs broker is not exempt from port security/gate procedures and must secure pedestrian/vehicle pass.

CCBI president Adones Carmona, in an August 6 letter to PPA general manager Atty Jay Daniel Santiago, said customs brokers are not considered port service providers. He noted that their profession “is not covered by the scope and coverage under Section 2 of PPA AO 06-2019.”

This, he said, is because customs brokers’ scope of practice “is clearly provided under Section 6 of RA (Republic Act) 9280 (The Customs Brokers Act of 2004) which is only associated to imported and exported goods under Customs jurisdiction.”

He also cited how former PPA general manager Atty. Oscar Sevilla, in his letter to the Professional Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines, Inc. dated March 29, 2010, ruled that, under PPA AO 08-96 and AO 13-77, customs brokers were exempt from the requirement to secure a PTO.

Carmona noted that under no circumstance has AO 06-2019 changed the practice of customs brokers, whose profession is already regulated by the PRCCB.

Carmona said PPA’s requirement of accreditation even when customs brokers already comply with the accreditation policy of the Bureau of Customs “would run counter to President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy in streamlining processes in government transactions and the essence of RA 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act.”

Truckers, forwarders plea for exemption

The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines in a letter to PPA reiterated its opposition to the inclusion of truckers in the accreditation requirement, reasoning out that truckers are already complying with regulations of many other regulatory government agencies.

Meanwhile, Philippine Liner Shipping Association, in a letter, sought clarification on the new order, saying it was issued without prior public consultation.

The group noted that while shipping lines, owing to the nature and peculiarity of their business, need to be within the port or pier, they are considered more as “port users availing of most of the services offered at the port rather than port services providers, per se.”

PPA chief Santiago earlier said the new accreditation policy was issued because the agency needed to “know who are inside the port. We need to make sure na ‘yung pumapasok dyan [those who enter there] we properly vetted them, that they are running a legitimate business, that they have a legitimate reason why they are in the port.”

PPA Port Operations and Services Department manager Lilian Javier recently said the port authority will study whether the PTO requirement can be merged with the new accreditation process under AO 06-2019. And if the PTO will still be required, the agency will see what changes can be done depending on requirements of ports and their localities and on whether they need the same documents required for accreditation. – Roumina Pablo

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