Philexport Cebu | export services, market reports, training for Philippine exporters

Home arrow News arrow Exporters pleased with BOC's mandatory 5-day response time to public petitions
Exporters pleased with BOC's mandatory 5-day response time to public petitions
Monday, 13 November 2017

The Philippines' umbrella group of exporters lauded a new order by Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeņa mandating Bureau of Customs (BOC) offices to cut down the processing time for public requests and petitions to within five days.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT), said they welcome the issuance of Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 24-2017, saying the memo will promote transparency in government transactions and support trade facilitation.

CMO No. 24-2017, entitled "Mandatory Response Time to Act on Official Communication," provides an "internal guideline on the acceptable time to act on all official communications."

It stipulates that the BOC, as an agency or through its groups, districts, and offices, must observe "a 5-day mandatory timeframe to respond to all clients, be it external or internal, efficiently and effectively."

In issuing the CMO, Lapeņa referenced Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and R.A. No. 9485, or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007. They both call for the prompt handling of requests and petitions submitted to government agencies.

Moreover, SONA Directive No. 2017-0010, issued by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. on September 7, 2017, directs all department secretaries and agency heads to ensure their agencies act on public letters and requests within 15 working days.

CMO No. 24-2017 also cited President Rodrigo Duterte's earlier pronouncement to limit redundant requirements and reduce processing time for issuing business permits "to the barest minimum."

The memorandum order covers all BOC groups, districts, offices and personnel who handle or act on communication and memorandum, including written or verbal communication, correspondence with other agencies, inter-office memo, and completed staff work.

The new guideline directs them to acknowledge receipt of the communication, specify the receiving unit and personnel, and indicate the date and time of receipt. From there, they should "perform appropriate action based on the requirement of the official communication received."

For communication that is neither routine nor simple, or still needs additional documents, "the office shall notify the requesting party within five (5) days the possible date of completion of the action required."

If all the requirements are on hand, "the official or personnel must continue the appropriate action required."

Should the communication or memo fall outside the jurisdiction of the office, it must be referred to the proper group, district, or office for appropriate action after acknowledging receipt of the communication.

"All outgoing communication/memorandum shall be recorded accordingly," the CMO adds.

Lapeņa warns that non-compliance with the CMO provisions "may be ground for administrative and disciplinary sanctions against any erring public officer or employee."

Ortiz-Luis, Jr., commenting further on the new order, said, it will also aid in enhancing ease of doing business in the country and improving the timeliness of cargo processing and customs clearance, making local exporters more competitive.