A study conducted by the University of the Philippines has recommended the division of the Bureau of Customs functions as the sole authority to screen and monitor imported products with other agencies.
This aims to divide the BOC functions with the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Trade and Industry and promote the practice of counter-checking in all transactions related to importation.
Dr. Prudenciano Gordoncillo said in a Senate inquiry into rampant smuggling yesterday that the BOC has the complete control of the process which has three functions such as safety and quarantine, revenue generation and trade facilitation.
Gordoncillo is the leader of a team that conducted a study, “An Assessment of Smuggling on Selected Agricultural Commodities in the Philippines” through the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, Laguna.
He suggested that the function of safety and quarantine be delegated to DA and DOH, the trade facilitation to the DTI and the revenue generation to the BOC.
”These three functions have inherent counter-checking. If you put this in one institution, that counter-checking disappears,” Gordoncillo told the Senate panel.
Gordoncillo said their recommendations were based on the best practices being adopted by other countries, specifically Singapore and Indonesia.
In the Philippines, Gordoncillo said the BOC has the control of the X-ray machines placed in various ports of entry in the country.
”In other countries like Indonesia, other agencies have access to X-ray machines,” Gordoncillo said.
He also noted that other countries, specifically Indonesia, impose heavy penalties against smuggler.
“In the Philippines, we have a penalty of only 2.5 times the value of the smuggled goods. In Indonesia, it's 1,000 percent in the penalty,” Gordoncillo said.*PNA