In light of the current issues being hurled at the Bureau of Customs, Baguio Representative Nicasio M. Aliping, Jr. reported the passage on third and final reading in Congress House Bill 5525 or the proposed “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
“It primarily aims to address smuggling, one of the country’s major economic problems causing huge revenue losses to the government because of the illegal entry of imported goods and services in the local market,” said Aliping, a co-author of the bill.
The bill will also address Transparency and Public Accountability in the Bureau of Customs by preventing District Officers and front-liner employees to hold the same position for more than three years.“Italso increases the fine and imprisonment penalties for violation of the Act, and reinforces provisions for the statutory offenses of officers and employees of the BOC and other government agencies,” Aliping said.
“The measure aims to modernize customs and tariff administration through full automation of operations and thus, reduce the opportunities for corruption and technical smuggling; enact an enabling domestic legislation to make the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines compliant with the Revised Kyoto Convention; update the country’s existing tariff and customs law to more effectively address modern business and trade practices; and reduce the cost of doing business due to customs modernization and thus, encourage more trade investments.”
It declares it is the State policy to protect and enhance government revenue, institute fair and transparent customs and tariff management that will efficiently facilitate international trade, prevent and curtail any form of customs fraud and illegal acts.
The measure aligns the Customs and Tariff Code of the Philippines with standards and recommended practices of the Revised Kyoto Convention, thus harmonizing the country’s procedures with 140 customs administrations around the world and making it easier for traders, importers and exporters to comply with border requirements.
The measure simplifies customs procedure on express shipments and relief consignments intended for victims of calamities.
It creates the Congressional Oversight Committee that will oversee the proper implementation of the Act.
“The CMTA bill is among the priority measures of the House in the 16th Congress,” said Aliping./ Carl C. Taawan