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PIA Press Release

PGMA orders BOC to speed up communications tech projects to bolster anti-smuggle drive

Manila (21 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed today the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to speed up the implementation of its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects to bolster its anti-smuggling capabilities.

The President issued the directive during the BOC Revenue Command Conference at Malacaņang's Heroes Hall this afternoon.

The Chief Executive said the BOC should explore the possibility of funding its ICT program through the Millennium Challenge Account and the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) Account, according to BOC Deputy Commissioner for Management Information System Alexander Arevalo.

"Basically, she asked us to look into the possibility of funding a system that would track the inventory of petroleum, first in Subic," Arevalo said.

The BOC updated the President on the status of its "E-Customs" and "Action Plan through ICT Projects."

The action plan includes keeping track of the movement of petroleum products and imported vehicles in the country's ports, inter-agency clearances, permits and tax credit certificates (TCC), the procurement of container X-rays and "executive dashboards" for examiners, district collectors and the BOC commissioners.

Arevalo told the President of the need for a reliable tracking of actual inventory to successfully curb smuggling of petroleum products into the country.

Arevalo said BOC's strategy is to "account for the last liter of inventory - as petroleum companies do," and this can be accomplished by deploying a "petroleum inventory management system as used by oil firms."

As for vehicle smuggling, the BOC said the problem or the "vulnerability" lies in "underdeclaration, misdeclaration, misclassification, misdescription" and "inter-agency gaps."

To fill the enforcement gap, the BOC recommended the following strategy: "Track all details on each vehicle import permit, taxes paid, registration that is transparent to all agencies involved such as the BOC, Land Transportation Office, Bureau of International Revenue, and others."

The BOC plans to "deploy a unified Customized Vehicle Import Processing System for all concerned agencies" starting next year.

The CVIPS will be installed in the ports of Subic, Manila and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) by the first quarter of 2008, and the ports of Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro by the second quarter of 2008.

The BOC also reported to the President about the "vulnerability" of "paper-based" permits and clearances coming from other agencies which are faked, tampered, reused; and difficult to account for."

To overcome these "vulnerabilities," the BOC plans to "accept electronic permits only" by deploying an "Electronic Permit & Clearance System under the National Single Window." (PIA) [top]

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