BUREAU of Customs (BoC) commissioner, Isidro Lapeña, said the planned implementation of the so-called ‘1-Assessment’ tax collection system this October 15 has been cancelled “in deference” to the request of waterfront stakeholders.
In a talk with this writer on the sideline of last Wednesday’s Senate hearing on the smuggling of illegal drugs, the customs chief instead said the new collection system would be implemented in a “calibrated” manner.
The new system, formally known as the ‘Enhanced Goods Verification System (EGVDS), is currently being “pilot-tested” in three provincial collection districts, the Port of Batangas, Port of Subic and the Port of Clark, since August.
Lapeña averred that aside from “curbing corruption,” the system would also help in trade facilitation, which is among the key objectives by the BoC, aside from combatting smuggling and increasing its revenue collection.
“They (stakeholders) are actually supporting it (new system), Lapeña claimed further, but acknowledged that the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) had written to his office early this month and requested that the implementation of the EGDVS be put on hold.
“We are in constant consultation with the stakeholders, that is why its (full) implementation has been deferred,” Lapeña said.
The EGDVS is a “web-based” tax collection scheme and where customs frontline employees would be housed in a ‘National Assessment Center’ (NAC), essentially discharging their duties as ‘call center agents.’
Lapeña claimed as the new system is “bias-free,” it would help put an end to the so-called “tara culture” in the bureau where stakeholders regularly gave “grease money” to customs officials and employees in exchange for the unimpeded release of their shipments.