‘No tara’ import process eyed by BoC chief

September 27, 2018
Isidro Lapeña

BUREAU of Customs (BoC) commissioner, Isidro Lapeña, confirmed they are finalizing the bureau-wide implementation of a new, computer-based, lodging system aimed at “minimizing human intervention” and further boost his campaign against the giving of “tara” (grease money) to facilitate the release of imported goods.

In a talk with this writer, the customs chief also assured that all stakeholders shall be “consulted” prior to the full implementation of the so-called ‘1-Assessment’ lodging system.

“Of course, we will consult with the stakeholders first before it is fully implemented,” Lapeña said.

The new system, formally named the ‘Enhanced Goods Declaration Verification System’ (EGDVS), is currently being “pilot-tested” at the ports of Batangas, Clark and Subic since last month.

EGDVS seeks to improve and expand the operation of the “GDVS” (Goods Declaration Valuation System) implemented by the bureau last year whose main feature is the dissolution of the “sectioning system” for all imported goods in all of the bureau’s formal entry (assessment) division (FED).

Lapeña said the current and improve system seeks to minimize ‘human contact,’ especially between the bureau’s frontline employees and the transacting public, thus minimizing the opportunity for customs personnel to demand or extort money from the transacting public, especially the customs brokers and their representatives.

“We all know that the more human contact, the more the opportunity for the commission of graft,” Lapeña said.

In a separate presentation last week on the merits of the EGDVS, Jeffrey Ian Dy, deputy commissioner for management information system and technology (MISTG), said the new system is “bias-free.”

“There will no longer be any ‘special treatment,’” Dy told waterfront stakeholders during a forum last September 13 where he reported on the initial result of the pilot tests they had conducted.

The EGDVS also seeks to comply with Republic Act (RA) 11032 signed recently by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte otherwise known as the ‘Ease on Doing Business Law.’ The law requires for a “zero contact” transaction between government agencies and their stakeholders to minimize corruption in government transactions.

Dy said the system works on the ‘first in, first out’ principle, or whoever filed their customs declaration first, would be the first to be accommodated.