Customs eyes paperless, contactless transactions by 2015

By Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2014 08:23 PM | Updated as of Apr 30 2014 07:48 PM

MANILA – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) vows to implement paperless and contactless transactions by June 2015.

The BOC is now reviewing all forms of interaction between importers/exporters and the bureau.

Two primary motivations for the digitization are to make processing faster and to stop smuggling and corruption.

In their first ever stakeholders' meeting, the BOC admitted that smuggling cases remain high.

Certain reforms like the issuance of alerts for shipments showed that 80 percent of shipments are misdeclared or under-invoiced, 30 percent of which were smuggled and thus, seized.

According to the BOC, they lose around P100,000 per container from said cases.

Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said they are aware that the public have no trust for the BOC, but certain reforms are now being instituted to recover that trust.

By September, reliable internet will be installed in all ports.

The move to automation basically attempts to remove discretion from their examiners.

Sevilla is confident, however, that such reforms are already bearing fruit. He claims that rice smuggling is now down, if not zero, ever since they implemented the “no import permit, no clearance” policy.

They are also investigating personnel. Complaints have been already filed against 82 individuals, 60 plus of which were involved in clearing smuggled rice.

Rice smuggling whistleblower and Federation of Philippines Industries president, Jess Aranza, said he has trust in Sevilla but believes that BOC should move quicker in filing appropriate charges against those involved.

Aranza bared the involvement of alleged rice smuggler, Davidson Bangayan, also known as David Tan, in the rice smuggling issue.