PH Customs reactivates green lane selectivity system

The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has finally re-activated the green lane under its selectivity system.

In a memo to district collectors dated May 31 and signed on June 3, Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the green lane has been fully reactivated in BOC’s system in “furtherance of our commitment to facilitate trade.”

With the reactivation, Guerrero has ordered district collectors “to exercise the necessary vigilance in monitoring any irregularities or anomalies you will observe in the course of the reactivation.

“Be reminded of your responsibility to ensure that only low-risk consignees are tagged in the green lane selectivity and report your observations to the chief, RMO [Risk Management Office],” Guerrero added.

The Customs chief said district collectors may utilize personnel assigned at the Entry Processing Unit in their respective ports in monitoring green lane activities. Guerrero said this is in keeping with Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 23-2019, wherein all EPUs in collection districts have been designated as Regional Management Units (RMU) and ad interim absorbed as line units under RMO, which handles BOC’s selectivity system.

“Failure in the exercise of this responsibility shall be dealt with accordingly,” the Customs chief noted.

The green lane was suspended on August 31, 2017 in order to review BOC’s selectivity system after congressional hearings on how a P6.5-billion shipment of methamphetamine hydrochloride in May 2017 was directed to the green lane, thus eluding Customs detection.

The suspension lasted for more than a year until Guerrero, in a memorandum dated December 20, 2018, ordered it lifted. The memo was, however, not enforced because parameters of the system needed fine-tuning. Last March 2019, Guerrero said a Risk Management Committee (RMC) to do just that was created.

Under BOC’s selectivity system, shipments that are classified as low risk are directed to the green lane, where shipments do not require documentary review or inspection.

Medium-risk shipments are tagged for the yellow lane and require documentary review, while high-risk cargoes are directed to the red lane for documentary review and inspection.

Asked if BOC has improved its risk management system to ensure higher rates of detection of smuggled goods and contraband while the agency facilitates trade by reactivating the green lane, Guerrero earlier told PortCalls the RMC “now continuously monitors, reviews, and updates our Risk Management System (RMS).”

“Right now, as part of the WB [World Bank] assistance, an expert is helping our RMO in our project to upgrade our RMS,” he added.

Guerrero noted that additional new x-ray machines with faster scanning capabilities have also just arrived mat BOC, which are part of the 50 units acquired for P1.2 billion. Of the total, six are portal-type x-ray machines, 15 fixed-baggage x-ray machines, 25 hand-carried baggage x-ray machines, and four mobile baggage x-ray machines. – Roumina Pablo

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