BOC issues rules on the use of Body-Worn Cameras in the exercise of Customs police authority

In order to establish uniform and clear guidelines for the optimum usage of body-worn cameras and recording devices, the Bureau of Customs issues Customs Memorandum Order 33-2021 with subject “Rules on the use of Body-Worn Cameras in the exercise of Customs Police Authority and other Customs Operations”.

The said CMO governs the use of Body-Worn Camera as a standard equipment in the exercise of Customs Police Authority and in the conduct of other customs operations.

The use of body-worn camera and the eventual recording of events shall be mandatory under customs operations such as controlled delivery operation, guarding duty at customs import gates, hot pursuit, inspection of consignees’ offices, search of persons arriving from foreign countries, search of vehicles and other carriers, persons, and animals, search on vessels or aircrafts and persons or goods conveyed therein, and regular customs operations such as boarding formalities, disposition of goods such as auction and condemnation of goods, and the non-intrusive and physical examination of goods.

Along with the guidelines enforced by this order include the list of circumstances where the cameras or devices may be turned off and the effect of failure to observe the requirements,.

The downloading of data from the cameras and devices for safekeeping and preservation shall be done within 24 hours from the time of recording by the data custodian. Recordings captured are subject to a retention period of 45 days from its recording time, extendible for a longer time upon request by an interested party when such recording is material to an investigation being conducted by proper authorities.

Furthermore, the data privacy rights of every person as espoused under RA 10173 or known as Data Privacy Act of 2012, shall be respected, provided that the exercise of such rights does not fall under the exceptions provided by the same law.