MANILA - Passengers entering the Philippines now have an option not to fill out a customs declaration form, provided they have nothing to declare.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Bureau of Customs announced that there will now be two lanes for incoming passengers, one for those who have "nothing to declare", and one for those who have with them goods that are subject to import duties or taxes.
The new rules, which took effect today, stem from Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 02-2014, or the Simplified Procedures for Clearance of Baggage of Passengers and Crew of International Airlines Arriving in International Airports of Entry, issued and signed by Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla last March 25, 2014.
Under the new order, which will initially be implemented at Terminals 1, 2, and 3 of the of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), as well as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), inbound passengers can choose between two lanes.
The green lane is for those with "nothing to declare", which means they do not have items in their baggage that are not subject to duties and taxes, can be brought in duty free and are not subject to any import prohibition, regulation or restriction.
Those using this lane do not have to fill out any declaration forms. The same rules will apply to the crew of international airlines and duly-acknowledged members of the Diplomatic Corps, though the latter will continue to enjoy privileges previously accorded to them.
On the other hand, the red lane is for passengers who bring in goods that are subject to import duties or taxes, are above the exempted Customs limits, or are prohibited, controlled or regulated by several statues.
"Streamlined processes at international airports are part of the reforms we are undertaking at the Bureau. The dual-channel will help simplify our security and risk management protocols, shorten clearance procedures and reduce the long lines and waiting time for customs clearance," said Sevilla.
Advisories on this new policy will be posted at the immigration counters at NAIA Terminals 1, 2, and 3, as well as in Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
NAIA is one of the 50 busiest airports in the world, while the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is the country's second-largest airport in terms of passenger traffic.