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PIA Press Release

BOC signs Anti-Smuggling Agreement with PPA, United Harbor Pilots' Association

Manila (12 February) -- In the quest of plugging all revenue leaks and blocking all avenues for smuggling, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) today signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the United Harbor Pilots' Association of the Philippines (UHPAP) for information sharing regarding domestic movement of imported goods and vessels in all ports that will boost the former's anti-smuggling campaign.

Customs Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales, PPA General Manager Atty. Oscar Sevilla and UHPAP President Captain Vicente Lagura penned their signature on the four-page agreement which lays down the individual functions of each party for close coordination and cooperation and information sharing.

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 private 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.

"Our anti-smuggling campaign is hinged on information. The more information we get, the better we can operate and decide on smuggling cases. The information from PPA and UHPAP will help us in our intelligence operations, case building and post-entry audit," explained Morales.

The PPA will also 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. 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.

Sevilla said that they are eager to help the Bureau of Customs in its anti-smuggling campaign because the BOC, PPA and UHPAP have the common imbued public interest of protecting our economy and nation.

"We work together to fight smuggling, which is a serious threat to the economy and national security," said Sevilla. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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