Use of surety bonds for imports tackled by BOC, PEZA

OFFICIALS of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) recently met to resolve issues on logistics and supply chain management, particularly using general transport surety bonds (GTSB) for eco-zone importations and inter-zone movement of goods.

Acting BOC Commissioner Yogi Filemon L. Ruiz, Collector Alex M. Go for Cavite and National Capital Region (NCR) and Collector Maria Fe A. Recinto for Laguna met with PEZA Officer-in-Charge Tereso O. Panga and his staff, Panga said in a post on his Facebook page last Monday. He said the meeting aimed to build on the agencies’ partnership in terms of increasing logistics efficiency and supply chain management and “other measures for continual improvement.”

Panga said he and Ruiz agreed to resolve the “pressing concerns.” These include the GTSB for the electronic zone transfer system, particularly the use of a single GTSB for ecozone importations and interzone movement of goods.

In addition, the officials discussed the Electronic Tracking of Container Cargo (e-TRACC) particularly on the adoption of a selective and risk-based approach for the shipments to be covered by electronic tracking using eSEAL.

The e-Tracc remains operational to ensure the integrity of the transfer of containers and to prevent diversion. The system enables the real-time monitoring of inland movements of containerized goods using an Information and Communications Technology-enabled system such as a GPS-enabled tracking device to secure its transport to the intended destination.

The officials also tackled the integration of the PEZA’s electronic import permit system and automated export documentation system to the BOC’s electronic-to-mobile, or “E2M,” system. The integration is expected to increase security and transparency in the processing and monitoring of import and export permits or documents.

Further, PEZA and BOC discussed the disposal of enterprises’ assets pursuant to Republic Act 11534 (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises, or Create, law), with net book value as reference.

The E2M system allows customs officers and traders to electronically process most customs transactions, although importers are still required to submit hard copies of import documents and attachments to the Entry Processing Unit for verification.

“PEZA is one with the BOC and other participants in the local supply and global value chains in enhancing the ecozone business ecosystem and our overall competitiveness to make the Philippines a viable investment destination in the region,” Panga said.

The PEZA OIC stressed that the two agencies are long-time and “vital partners” in promoting and facilitating trade and investments in the country through the economic zones.

Panga said that since the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) era in the 1970s, “the BOC had played a key role in facilitating the release of tax and duty-free import and export shipments of ecozone locators including the intra/inter-zone movement of goods which enabled our export industries to thrive in the country.”

He said the PEZA has also rolled out its online payment system and initiated other automation projects such as electronic letters of authority (LOAs), integration of different office automation systems, ecozone surveillance and the proposed electronic visa application, building permit and ecozone fleet tracking systems, among others.

The PEZA official said these digital-transformation initiatives aim to enhance customer experience and the agency’s delivery of services.

“All these will contribute to higher productivity, reliability, availability, increased performance and reduced operating costs to the benefit of our valued ecozone investors and other stakeholders,” said Panga.