Marcos wants to speed up proof of import clearance permit

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants to cut by around half the number of days given to importers to prove that they lawfully acquired and brought goods to the country.

Marcos said on Friday he doesn’t see the need to give importers as long as 15 days to produce clearance documents, noting this is enough time for them to get away with possible illegal activities.

“Sinusubukan natin ngayon bawasan ‘yung 15 days into seven days, dahil kung legal ka na importer, hawak mo lahat ng dokumento eh. Pag hinanap sa’yo ‘yan, bibigay niyo kaagad. So, bakit pa 15 days?” he said in a speech in Cavite during the distribution of seized smuggled rice to residents.

[Translation: We’re trying to shorten the 15 days to seven days, because if you’re a legal importer, you already have the documents. If authorities asked those from you, you’ll immediately give it. So, why the need for 15 days?]

Under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, an authorized customs officer may demand proof of payment of duties and taxes on imported goods openly for sale or kept in storage. The goods may be seized and subjected to forfeiture proceedings if the interested party fails to show such evidence within 15 days.

“Baka kung anong mangyari dyan, mailulusot pa nila ‘yan, kaya sabi ko gawin natin ang lahat para makuha na ng pamahalaan, makuha na ng Bureau of Customs (BOC),” Marcos said.

[Translation: It’s possible for them to escape punishment, so I said let’s do everything so the government, the Bureau of Customs, can immediately confiscate the goods.]

In the event Marcos attended, the government gave out 1,200 sacks of confiscated smuggled rice to identified beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the City of General Trias, Cavite. These were part of the 42,180 smuggled sacks of rice worth ₱42 million seized in Zamboanga City earlier this month after a warehouse raid.

Marcos earlier ordered the BOC to conduct more warehouse inspections to address hoarding and illegal rice importation, which he has blamed for the spike in prices of the staple.