MANILA — Companies transacting business with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) can expect faster processing time of their documents.
This was after Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña issued Customs Memorandum Order No. 24-2017 setting a “five-day mandatory timeframe to respond to all clients, be it external or internal.”
“Communication letters, requests, and other permits shall be acted by the concerned office within five days upon receipt of documents,” Lapeña said in a statement Wednesday.
The memorandum was signed on Monday in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to fast-track processing of documents in government offices.
“When there’s delay, there is grease money,” the Customs chief said.
Lapeña noted that delays have caused the importers to resort to bribery, noting tnat the latter are “looking for people who can facilitate their shipments and documents.”
Once shipments are “facilitated”, most of the times they [the importers] resort to benchmarking, one of the reasons why the bureau cannot hit the target set by the Department of Finance, he said.
At the same time, Lapena ordered the Account Management Office (AMO) to streamline the procedures in the accreditation of importers and brokers.
Pertaining to AMO as the first show window of the bureau, he criticized the said office for the delays, stressing that it takes a month or two before the documents are released.
“Once documents are complete, the processing time shall start and it should not exceed five days,” he added.
With this, the BOC chief urged applicants to report to the Office of the Commissioner if their permits were not yet released by AMO within the 5-day timeframe.
“The Bureau of Customs is now two steps in eradicating the century-practice of graft and corruption in the agency,” he said.
The order was also issued pursuant to RA 6713 known as Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards from Public Officials and Employees, RA 9845 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, and SONA Directive No. 2017-0010 of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco.