Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon today clarified the issue regarding the Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM) of shipments entering the country which the Hog Raisers Association of the Philippines claim the BOC refuses to provide them.
According to Biazon, he is surprised why Abono Party ListÂ Â Chairman and Director of the Swine Development Council Rosendo So is raising the issue again when this has already been clarified by the BOC in the form of an earlier letter which they sent through the Department of Finance and the Department of Agriculture. In fact, Biazon said, even prior to So’s recent pronouncements in media on the IFM, a meeting between Commissioner Biazon, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and AGAP Party List Representative Nicanor Briones had already been set for tomorrow (June 26, 2012) at the DA to discuss and resolve the matter.
“The Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM) is a House Bill of Lading of an entire shipload of imported cargoes entering the country. Meaning, it contains the details of all cargoes contained in one ship,” Biazon said, adding that, “Providing these information to people other than those from the BOC can be prejudicial to other legitimate importations.”
Biazon explained that, should these information get into wrong hands, it could imperil the integrity of the other cargoes contained in the same IFM as its importers could be subjected to harassment or it may even be used to facilitate price manipulation which could result in unfair competition in the market.
“This is actually a matter of giving priority to maintaining the country’s integrity as an investment haven that is compliant to global trade facilitation procedures over the BOCâ€™s responsibility to ensure the protection of the local agricultural workers’ interest,” Biazon said.
“This is precisely the reason why, in coming up with a win-win solution for both the country’s economic interest and the local hog raisers’ concerns, we signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Hog Raisers Association of the Philippines in April this year at Cebu City, for them to assign an expert at the BOC who will personally observe the facilitation and release of meat importations. Through this, instead of just going over the listing of cargoes in the IFM, they can actually see as these shipments are declared upon arrival at the BOC ports,” the Commissioner added.
Biazon, however, lamented of the Hog Raisers Association’s failure to send a representative to the BOC, despite his calls for them to implement the terms of their MOA.
With regards to the reference prices of all importations entering the country, Biazon explained that these are only reference guides in determining the actual value of importations, what the BOC follows, according to the Commissioner is the Environment of Transaction Value Method.
The Commissioner is saddened by the Hog Raisers accusation saying that these issues could be solved objectively and constructively, if only the Hog Raisers would implement the previously agreed solution to this issue.