BoC tells stakeholders to remain open

Rules on importation of PPEs clarified.

BUREAU of Customs (BOC) commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, is urging all waterfront stakeholders, especially banks, shipping lines and those in the logistics and import sectors to remain open to avoid the delay of the processing and delivery of vital and basic goods.

“The support and continuous services of the said groups arevital in order to facilitate the shipments of basic and essential goods such as food and medical supplies that are coming in the country for distribution to the market,” Guerrero said in a statement.

Guerrero issued the reminder after being informed that at least one shipping line and one government bank failed to open for business on Tuesday, apparently for lack of workforce, to the detriment of the transacting public.

Atty. Vincent Maronilla, bureau spokesperson, earlier bared to this writer that despite the business disruption caused by the highly-infectious ‘COVID-19’ that resulted to the ‘lockdown’ of the entire Luzon, the volume of arriving shipment “is now actually starting to increase, indicating increased economic activity.”

Maronilla at the same time denied allegations that the bureau is “withholding” the release of vital medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as face masks, gloves, shoe and head covers and gowns.

The official noted that regulations covering the importation of PPEs is with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), specifically, FDA Circular 2017-013, with only the BOC as implementing agency.

The regulation mandates that importers of PPEs must have a ‘certificate of product notification’ (CPN) or ‘certificate of product registration’ (CPE) from the FDA, prior to their release by Customs.

In view of the present situation, however, the FDA informed the BOC that importers of PPEs and with pending application for CPN/CPE, should only present their license to operate (LTO) and the proof of their application to expedite the release of their shipments at the BOC.

On the other hand, large firms who intend to import PPEs for the direct use of their employees and personnel need not apply for permit with the FDA.