BOC Monitors Influx of Vaccines, Essential Food Products

In preparation for the influx of essential food products and vaccines, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has increased its efforts in monitoring and ensuring smooth flow of import commodities as the country continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the key measures recently implemented at BOC is the creation of the Covax Importation Unit, whose primary function is to ensure the smooth and speedy processing and monitoring of the Covid-19 vaccine importations. This unit is responsible for coordinating with the IATF and other concerned agencies on matters relating to Covid-19 vaccines.

The One-Stop-Shop at the Port of NAIA also ensures expeditious processing and release of approved vaccines, personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and other goods essential in the fight against Covid-19, provided that all regulated goods are compliant with the required permits.

The BOC is also expecting an increase in the volume of importation of processed and canned meat products and pork products following the issuance of Executive Order 123, which extends the 5% tariff on imports of mechanically-deboned meat (MDM) of chicken and turkey until the end of 2021. Likewise, the Department of Agriculture recently announced the possible increase in the minimum access volume (MAV) allocation for pork to stabilize its supply and prices in the market.

With these recent developments, the BOC has strengthened its trade facilitation programs and activities to ensure a continued supply of essential food products. Customer Care Centers established in 17 Collection Districts remain operational to assist stakeholders with their concerns and BOC-related transactions. Disposition of overstaying containers remains in effect to ensure unhampered delivery of services and avoid possible port congestion.

The Bureau also strengthened its border security measures to ensure that all arriving shipments are compliant with Customs laws, rules, and regulations.

Portal x-ray machines capable of scanning 160 containers per hour, or 3,840 containers per day were installed in major ports — Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, Port of Cebu, and Port of Davao.

The newly created Customs Operations Center strengthens the Bureau’s command and control on intelligence and enforcement operations of its seventeen (17) Collection Districts nationwide. The Center manages the Intelligence Database, the Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo (E-TRACC), and the Vessel Monitoring System. It also provides remote access to BOC’s x-ray system. It also serves as a fusion center to integrate and analyze intelligence, enforcement, and operational information gathered from various sources.

Moreover, implementation of the Universal Risk Management System (URMS) enhances the Bureau’s risk and compliance-prediction capabilities against illicit trade and customs fraud.

The Bureau of Customs assures the public that it will continue to adopt measures necessary to protect, facilitate and minimize disruption to the supply chain, especially for basic and essential goods.