If Philippine customs brokers waive their right to bank secrecy, they may no longer be required to secure the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) Brokers’ Clearance Certificate (BCC). This is what Customs commissioner Alberto Lina said during the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. 25th National Assembly on Nov 25.
The customs chief said brokers “should not be afraid” to waive their right to bank secrecy if they have nothing to hide.
Lina, in a separate interview with media on Nov 26, said customs brokers have signified their support to the proposal. He added that a draft on the subject is already being written, and that the plan may be set in motion by January 2016.
Early last year, the Department of Finance adopted a two-step accreditation system for importers and customs brokers, requiring them to first secure clearance from the BIR before getting accreditation from the Bureau of Customs. But not a few stakeholders have complained of the tedious accreditation process. Customs brokers, in particular, have said the process runs counter to Republic Act No. 9280 or the Customs Brokers Act of 2004.
Brokers pointed out that under RA 9280, they only need three things to practice their profession and nothing else: a Professional Regulatory Board Certificate of Registration and identification card issued to a board passer; payment of professional tax; and membership with an accredited professional organization. – Roumina Pablo