A BILL that will consolidate all measures seeking to amend the Customs Modernization and Tariffication Act (CMTA) will be completed within the week, House Committee Chairman on Ways and Means Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda said.
“I think within this week, the Committee will be able to finalize since…iilan lang naman ’yung malalaki eh (there are only a few major issues)” Mr. Salceda told reporters on Monday.
According to Mr. Salceda, main amendments to the CMTA are the mandatory inspection at the cargos’ point of origin and the mandatory inclusion of the transaction value in shipping documents.
“Kasi sa mga shipping documents walang transaction value. So ngayon, ginagawang mandatory na yung mga shipping documents should bear the transaction value and, kung kaya pa, yung CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight). So therefore, kung may diperensya po siya sa declaration nung importer sa atin eh kung plus or minus ten yung variance, ma-sa-subject po siya sa examination. So basically these are to improve the CMTA (Shipping documents currently have no transaction values; the amendments will seek to make transaction value mandatory, and CIF if possible. The intent is to require inspections for any variance of plus or minus 10% on importer declarations),” Mr. Salceda said.
Rep. Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon expressed his support for the Bureau of Customs’ (BoC) recommendation to make Customs brokerage courses be more available in schools.
“We have schools which offer Customs-broker courses. (Ideally, those schools should be the sources of) Customs officers because they underwent specialized education” Mr. Biazon told reporters Monday.
Mr. Biazon also added that there should be a provision which mandates that all Customs officers be graduates of Customs brokerage courses.
“(We need to declare that) we will only hire Customs employees who are graduates of Customs brokerage courses. So we might not have to put in resources to physically build a Customs academy, set up the academy. (Maybe the law) will be a good solution for us” Mr. Biazon said.
There are currently six bills seeking to amend the CMTA: House Bills (HB) 783, 784, 800, 2591, 5278 and 5548.
All bills propose to impose stricter administrative sanctions, specifically on the supervision and regulation of third parties, to curb corruption, enhance trade facilitation and improve the efficiency of revenue collection by the BoC.
CMTA was signed into law in May 2016 to modernize procedures for “faster trade, reduce opportunities for corruption, improve customs service delivery and improve supply chain.”
Since enactment, the Philippines’ trade facilitation rate hit 80.65% in 2019 from 69.89% in 2017, according to the 2019 United Nations Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation. — Genshen L. Espedido