MANILA- The Bureau of Customs adjusted its policy on mandatory x-ray inspection of shipments following reports of long queues.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said, starting last Thursday, October 12, the following shipments were no longer tagged "red," meaning there is no need to undergo mandatory x-ray inspection.
1. PEZA-bound shipments;
2. Perishables and reefer shipments; and
3. Importation of government agencies and multinational companies.
Shipments that were tagged red and belonging to the 3 categories will go through the yellow lane for document-checking, Lapeña said.
"Given time, we will come up with a more effective and efficient system that will balance border protection and trade facilitation," he said in a statement Saturday.
Long lines of trucks for x-ray inspection were reported after Lapeña suspended "green lanes" due to the entry of P6.4 billion worth of shabu that slipped past Customs ports.
Green lanes have allegedly been used to smuggle illegal goods into the country.
Lapeña also addressed concerns that the BOC may soon become an "extension" of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, which is tasked to go after illegal-drug users and peddlers in the country.
"I take this opportunity to also allay the fears of some customs employees, in particular those from the Bureau of Customs Employees Association, who feel that the BOC will reportedly become a 'PDEA extension.' There is no truth to this and this will not happen," he said.
He added that the bureau plans to add about 3,000 more personnel to address the concern of employees who say that they usually perform dual tasks or more.
"This is also an answer to the lack of personnel in the bureau's outports. I would like to assure everyone that the hiring process, aside from being open to all interested applicants, will be transparent and in accordance with the Civil Service rules," he said.