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PIA Press Release

BOC pushes info sharing scheme to boost anti-smuggling drive

by T. Villavert

Iloilo City (14 February) -- Information sharing regarding domestic movement of imported goods and vessels in all ports, is the recent scheme forged by the Bureau of Customs, Philippine Ports Authority and the United Harbor Pilots' Association of the Philippines to strengthen the anti-smuggling campaign in the country.

"Our anti-smuggling campaign is hinged on information. The more information we get, the better we can operate and decide on smuggling cases," said Customs Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales during the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement by the Bureau Of Customs (BOC), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and United Harbor Pilots' Association of the Philippines (UHPAP).

The MOA stipulates that the PPA and UHPAP immediately report to the BOC any information on smuggling that they may encounter in any port, especially provate ports.

Morales said that PPA and UHPAP encounter information regarding probable smuggling activities in their daily operations but do not necessarily use this information in carrying out their functions. The BOC, however, needs this information for intelligence operations and case building.

"The information from PPA and UPAP will help us in our intelligence operations, case building and post-entry audit," Morales said.

The PPA will now require all vessels to submit cargo manifest and other documents prior to berthing. These documents will be used as reference for counter-checking by the BOC to check whether loaded cargo are smuggled, misdeclared or undervalued.

The UHPAP, which provide mandatory pilotage services to docking vessels, will also provide the BOC with a regular list of vessels that are maneuvered in ports. With this, the BOC will be able to track the movement of all vessels and filter out the legitimate from the dubious vessels that claim to come from another domestic port but in fact come from foreign shores carrying smuggled goods, the Malacanang press report disclosed. (PIA) [top]

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