METRO MANILA — The Department of Transportation-Philippine Ports Authority (DOTr-PPA) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) have ironed out their differences in interpretation of proposed provisions in the draft Customs Administrative Order (CAO) on the jurisdiction over container yards and facilitation of permits within the South Harbour and the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
“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,” explains DOTr Assistant Secretary for Maritime Fernando Perez.
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.
“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,” says Atty. Althea Acas, project manager of BOC’s Project Management Office.
On July 17, 2017, BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, PPA General Manager Jay Santiago, BOC’s Atty. Althea Acas, and other ranking officials from the DOTr met to discuss the provisions of the CAO and to forge clarity on the issue.
“After our discussion with the Bureau of Customs, we were able to sort the differences in so far as interpretation of the CAO is concerned,” says PPA GM Jay Santiago.
He adds 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. Hence, these fall under the supervision of PPA and should not be treated separately.
The collection of fees and permits, as well as licensing within port terminals, shall be under the supervision of the PPA, while those outside shall be handled by the BOC.
“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,” GM Santiago stressed.
At present, the draft CAO is being presented to stakeholders for further fine-tuning and amendments, and is pending approval of the Finance Department.