Cebu News

BOC-Cebu welcomes reps from world customs

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs Port of Cebu recently welcomed experts from the World Customs Organization (WCO), as part of a comprehensive effort to enhance customs practices and procedures.

According to BOC-Port of Cebu, the primary objective of the WCO visit was to conduct a thorough Risk Management Stocktaking Mission for the Philippine Bureau of Customs, emphasizing the importance of effective risk management in ensuring the integrity and efficiency of customs operations.

“Effective risk management is crucial in customs operations as it enables the identification, assessment, and mitigation of potential risks associated with international trade, including illicit activities, such as smuggling, trafficking, and the unlawful movement of goods across borders,” BOC-Cebu said in their statement.

Led by Donia Hammami, head of the Accelerate Trade Facilitation Programme from Belgium, the delegation included Lewis Cameron, Senior Responsible Officer of the Accelerate Trade Facilitation Programme from the United Kingdom; Arno Kooij, WCO Expert from the Netherlands; and Pipat Sirijumrasskul, WCO Expert from Thailand.

Accompanying the WCO delegation were officials from the BOC, whose presence underscored the commitment of the bureau to fostering international cooperation and optimizing risk management frameworks.

During their stay, the WCO representatives conducted in-depth discussions and assessments with Port of Cebu officials, including District Collector Atty. Ricardo Morales II, Subport of Mactan Coll. Gerardo Campo, Deputy Collector for Assessment Conrado Abarintos, among others.

Their discussions covered various aspects of risk management strategies and practices at the Port of Cebu, highlighting best practices and areas for improvement.

The WCO representatives received a thorough tour of the Designated Examination Area (DEA) at the Cebu International Port.

They observed customs examiners and officials conducting physical examination of containers.

They also witnessed the non-intrusive examination process using the Astrophysics Portal X-Ray Machine, a high-speed x-ray machine deployed at the port. Image analysts demonstrated the machine's ability to detect the composition of items within scanned containers by switching color palettes, providing valuable insights for the WCO representatives.

“They commended the Port of Cebu for its proactive approach in addressing customer needs and ensuring a seamless trade experience,” it said.

This acknowledgment, the bureau added, reflects the Port of Cebu's dedication to not only fulfill its regulatory duties but also foster harmonious relationships with stakeholders and facilitating legitimate trade.

Morales expressed his appreciation for the valuable insights shared by the WCO representatives during their visit.

He emphasized the importance of continuous improvement and collaboration in advancing customs operations.

Morales said that the partnership with the WCO underscores their dedication to continuous improvement and adherence to global best practices in risk management.

He added that this mission represents a pivotal opportunity to strengthen their capabilities and better safeguard their borders while facilitating legitimate trade.

“Their expertise will significantly contribute to our ongoing efforts to enhance our operations and better serve our stakeholders. The collaborative efforts between the WCO experts and our dedicated team exemplify our steadfast dedication to advancing customs practices and fostering international partnerships,” Morales shared. —/ATO (FREEMAN)

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