By Betheena Kae Unite
A committee that will oversee alerted cargoes in ports has been established by the Bureau of Customs to ensure prompt processing.
An Alert Order Clearing House Desk was created to closely monitor alert orders issued by alerting authorities over "suspect" shipments, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said.
“The Alert order clearing house is necessary to ensure that alert orders are properly implemented in accordance with the law,” Guerrero explained.
The order clearing house desk is tasked to regularly monitor all alert orders and ensure that its implementation is in accordance with existing policies and conditions to warrant its issuance.
It will also address delays and ease the processing of alert orders through active monitoring of alerted shipments, the Customs chief said.
Guerrero said that with the creation of the committee, the number of alerted shipments being processed declined considerably.
From over 300 pending alerted shipments, it is now down to 94 on process alerted shipment, he noted.
However, the clearing house has no authority to issue alert orders. The power remains with the commissioner and the district collectors.
A document management system is also being developed to track Customs records, files, and/or documents including alert orders.
A shipment entering the country can be alerted due to suspicious content as seen during x-ray examination or misdeclaration. A shipment can also be alerted based on an intelligence report.
Its release will be hold for a certain period of time according to Customs laws until it undergoes non-intrusive examination to prove the reason for issuing an alert order against the shipment.
If the suspicion is correct, the shipment will be forfeited for the government. The mode of disposal will then be determined.