By Ariel Fernandez
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has started implementing the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 20-01 that provides the guidelines for the expeditious release of goods during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The JAO shall apply to reefer containers categorized as either chilled or frozen, and dry vans/goods, including but not limited to out of gauge cargoes, both for terminal and scheduled to arrive.
Importers/ consignees are directed to effect the immediate withdrawal of reefer containers, or face abandonment proceedings.
For cargoes at terminal, refrigerated containers must be pulled out within seven days, five in case of chilled cargoes, from the issuance of the order.
Additionally, cargoes beyond 30 days from date of discharge are required to be withdrawn within five days from the issuance of the order. Reefer containers scheduled to arrive after the issuance of the order must be withdrawn within 10 days from discharge.
For the customs clearance as stated in the order, the importers/consignees shall lodge the goods declaration within two days from the date of discharge. Lodgement prior to the arrival of the vessel is allowed for reefer containers.
The BOC shall then issue the final assessment within 24 hours from the date of online filing. The importers/consignees will do the payment of duties, taxes, and other charges within 24 hours from the date of issuance of final assessment and claim the goods within three days or 24 hours in case of reefer containers, from the date of payment.
Shipping lines are ordered to release all Delivery Orders (DO) within 24 hours upon payment by the consignee of all shipping charges. It shall waive demurrage charges for each day of delay, if it fails to issue the DO within the prescribed period.
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) shall provide free storage for all goods cleared for release by the BOC for a maximum of five (5) days from the date of discharge and shall be withdrawn during the period . Otherwise, PPA will transfer the cargoes, including out of gauge cargoes, to a designated offsite location at the expense of the importer/consignee.
Considering the state of national health emergency, the BOC shall continue to implement and improve the BOC online systems allowing the e-lodgment and online filing of goods declaration, including online payment of duties and taxes, acceptance of electronic copies of import permits, clearances, and other documents to expedite the processing of transaction.
The BOC also started processing Provisional Goods Declaration (PGD) and the adoption of Green Lane Process flow for importers/consignees of basic necessities, jointly identified by a set criteria.
The BOC assures the public that it will continue to adopt measures necessary to facilitate and minimize disruption to the supply chain, especially for basic necessities in this crisis situation.