BOC opens new unit for border security, trade facilitation

The Bureau of Customs officially opened on Thursday, 2 February its Container Control Unit as part of the agency’s continuous effort in strengthening its campaign towards effective border security and trade facilitation.

This unit will serve as an intelligence office that will focus on non-fiscal violations like illicit trade and proliferation of strategic goods. It will recommend high-risk shipments to a higher authority to exercise proper enforcement of laws, rules, and regulations, as well as to exercise any type of control in relation to the aforementioned non-fiscal violations.

During the opening ceremony, Customs Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon explained that the unit will ensure safety in trade facilitation. The origin of suspected shipments carrying contraband will be identified and prevented from entering the country through this program.

“These technologies, systems and the program will help us monitor illicit trade,” he said.

The CCU is sponsored by the United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with the World Customs Organization (WCO). Two of the major sponsoring countries for South East Asia are Canada and Australia.

Canadian Ambassador John Holmes said that their government remains committed to working with UN to fight drugs, illicit trade, crime, corruption and border security threats. He said that collaborative cooperation with the ASEAN is necessary in securing trade culture and in eradicating poverty, crime, and corruption in the country.

US Attache for Homeland Security Ransom Avilla explained that the program focuses on export control and border security. He added that this unit will enhance the BOC’s mandate of trade facilitation and securing the Philippine borders from smuggling and other forms of customs fraud. Avilla said the US government reaffirms its continued support to the Philippines in facilitating trade and ensures that efforts are complementary to the needs of the Philippines.

UN South East Asian Regional Director Mark Stanley acknowledged the efforts of the Bureau and expressed the UN’s support to the country’s fight against trafficking of illicit trade and the destruction of agricultural products.

The newly-created unit will operate under BOC’s Revenue Collection and Monitoring Group. Staff and contractual employees of the Risk Management Office are concurrently working at the CCU