Customs ramps up modernization projects to complement shift to ‘new normal’

Published May 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Betheena Unite

More digital projects will be implemented by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in a bid to speed up trade as it shifts to the “new normal” in the middle of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


The Customs bureau said on May 6, Wednesday, that it “will implement more Information and Communications Technology projects that will speed up trade, strengthen border security and protect government revenues” as the country grapples against the pandemic.

The bureau bared that preparations to improve various ICT projects under its modernization goal are underway.

“Ang goal po namin dito ay ma-modernize ang lahat ng critical systems ng Bureau of Customs…. Hindi lang namin iniisip yung serbisyo during the ECQ, pinaghahandaan na rin namin yung new normal pagkatapos ng ECQ na ito (The goal of the bureau is to modernize all its critical systems… We are not just thinking about our service during the enhanced community quarantine, but we are also preparing for the ‘new normal’ after the ECQ),” Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said.

Currently, the bureau is working on the stabilization of the E2M system, which will be replaced by Trade Engine to ensure the fast system performance of the existing system. As of May 1, Trade Engine has been successfully rolled out in all collection districts.

“Another project the BOC is working on is the Online Inventory Management System for Off-Dock Container Yard/Container Freight Stations (CY/CFS) that will monitor the real-time status of import goods transferred, stored, and withdrawn,” the bureau said.

Through the system, protection of government revenues against possible leakages arising from discrepancies, and wrong declarations of quantity and gross weight of imported goods is assured.

The Customs bureau will likewise develop an Online Inventory Management System for Customs Bonded Warehouses (CBW) that will monitor real time status and accounting of imported raw materials from the time of its transfer from the port of discharge to the CBW destination.

An Online Payment Platform will also be introduced this year for online payment of customs fees, such as processing fee for registration of importers and customs brokers at the Account Management Office.

Initiatives will be introduced for the adoption and implementation of a Passenger Customs Clearance System at the Port of NAIA. It is an electronic system that will allow passengers to fill-out the Customs Baggage Declaration Form using their mobile phones, making it more accessible to stakeholders, and providing readily available data to Customs examiners.

Earlier, the electronic tracking of containerized cargo (E-TRACC) system was launched, to access real-time monitoring of inland movements of containerized goods using GPS tracking device to secure transport to intended destination.

“The loan negotiations between the Department of Finance and World Bank on the Philippine Customs Modernization Project, which was approved last March 6, 2020 by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee Cabinet Committee, will begin on May 12,” Maronilla said.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero has already signed the letter to the Department of Budget Management for issuance of the Forward Obligation Authority for the project.

A Customs Special Order is expected to be issued in the coming days to create the Project Management Unit (PMU) tasked to oversee the implementation of the project and ensure that its objectives, along with specifications and standards set, are met during construction, deployment, and implementation.

“The BOC is fast-tracking the roll out of these projects, [which are] expected to be fully implemented in the next few months,” the bureau said.