MANILA, July 31 — The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have settled the impasse over the provisions of the draft Customs Administrative Order (CAO) on the jurisdiction over container yards and processing of permits within the South Harbor and the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
The issue stemmed from several provisions in the draft CAO allowing BOC to establish temporary storage for overstaying and abandoned cargoes within container port terminals that are under the jurisdiction of the PPA.
In a statement Monday, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Maritime Fernando Perez said both agencies have agreed to work together to address the need for an area wherein seized and abandoned cargoes will be stored.
“The PPA and BOC have discussed each others’ requirements and are working together to address the need of Customs for an area where they can secure seized and abandoned cargoes, among other concerns. The free-flowing of containers in and out of the port is essential to prevent another port congestion. We don’t want a repeat of 2014. Therefore, it is necessary for all agencies to work together in crafting this CAO,” according to Perez.
BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, PPA General Manager Jay Santiago, BOC’s Atty. Althea Acas, and other DOTr ranking officials had a meeting last July 17 to discuss the provisions of the Customs order and settle the issue.
In the said meeting, it was agreed that the collection of fees and permits as well as licensing within port terminals shall be under the jurisdiction of the PPA while those outside shall be handled by the BOC.
PPA General Manager Jay Santiago explained that the BOC has the mandate to regulate bonded container yards outside port terminals. However, those inside port terminals, whether operated by PPA or by private operators, should be regarded as components of the entire terminals thus, these fall under the supervision of PPA and should not be treated separately.
“Basta as far as port terminals are concerned, that should still remain with the PPA but doon sa container yards outside of the ports, that will be under the supervision of the BOC,” Santiago stressed.
For her part, Atty. Althea Acas, project manager of BOC’s Project Management Office, said: “We welcome this development as we continue to improve our system of storage and facilitation of trading goods in partnership with the PPA and our stakeholders.”
The draft order is currently being presented to stakeholders for review and amendments and is pending approval of the Department of Finance.
A draft CAO seeks to implement Section 307 of Republic Act 10863 by imposing rates for storage services in identified customs facilities and warehouses (CFWs).
PPA assistant general manager Hector Miole said Section 804 of RA 10863 allows the BOC to impose an annual supervision fee on operators of CFWs and customs bonded warehouses, but not for warehousing and storage services.
He said the draft order must be amended to clarify that it is the PPA and not the BOC that has the duty to provide warehousing and storage services and impose fees.
Miole also rejected the BOC’s plan to declare CFWs as part of the BOC’s premises since these facilities are under the PPA.