THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have inked a Data Sharing Agreement for the “further enhancement” of monitoring of movements of ecozone goods under the Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo (E-TRACC) System.
In a statement on Wednesday, Peza said the Data Sharing Agreement now gives it access in tracking, monitoring and auditing the location and condition of cargoes, as well as obtain “real-time” alarms on diversion and tampering of cargoes. The investment promotion agency said, “This is to ensure that importation and exportation of tax- and duty-free goods arrive and reach the intended Peza economic zones/port loading.”
This agreement particularly promotes the “integration, interoperability and interconnection” of both agencies’ respective systems in direct compliance with Executive Order 18 establishing Green Lanes for strategic investments as mandated by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
MEANWHILE, in a statement it issued on Wednesday, BOC said key provisions of the agreement focus on data privacy, security, storage, and retention of confidential information.
“Both the BOC and Peza emphasize their dedication to upholding data privacy laws and safeguarding confidential information,” BOC said in its statement on Wednesday.
The attached agency of the Department of Finance (DOF) also noted that “stringent” measures will be in place to ensure that sensitive data is used solely for its intended purposes.
The BOC, as mandated with overseeing the handling, custody, and delivery of goods at all ports of entry, is entrusted with a “pivotal role” in safeguarding the nation’s interests.
Introduced through Customs Memorandum Order No. 04-2020, the E-TRACC System has been “instrumental” in real-time monitoring of containerized goods’ inland movements, BOC said.
Operating under Republic Act No. 7916 (as amended by Republic Act No. 8748), Peza, on the other hand, is responsible for regulating, supervising, and facilitating business operations within economic zones.
BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio said the agreement “will pave the way for improved day-to-day operations and will further buttress our trade facilitation performances.”
“We firmly believe that sharing secured data with Peza will enable us to coordinate our efforts and drive collective improvements toward seamless trade facilitation,” Rubio said.
For his part, Peza Director General Tereso O. Panga said, “We subscribe to the BOC’s objectives of trade facilitation as our way of enhancing the competitiveness of the Philippines for trade and investments. To do this, we believe that digitalization is the key, increased adoption of automation, so that we can enhance our ease of doing business and facilitate even more the movement of cargoes of our locators.”
In line with this agreement and the efforts of the agencies towards digitalization, Peza also reiterated its full support for the implementation of Electronic Zone Transfer System (eZTS) as contained under Joint Memorandum Order (JMO) No. 2-2015 dated July 24,2015.
Initially, Peza said it deferred for a month the implementation of the INTERZONE module of eZTS due to the “non-processing” of General Transportation Surety Bond (GTSB) by Philippine insurers and some BOC zones.
Despite this, both parties continued the INTRAZONE module, with inclusion of more type of transactions to be covered by the fully automated facilitation such as eNomination/eCertification, eLOA and eMonitoring Ledger and real time monitoring on the status of goods for transfer.
According to Panga, “With more Value-Added Services Providers [VASPs] and bonding companies supporting the eZTS, the locators will benefit more from reduced cost and better services of multiple providers. The system will also allow for continued usage of GTSB for import shipments to cover the subsequent movement of cargoes for interzone sales/transfers, thereby removing the current requirement of posting a surety bond for every LOA withdrawal of locators’ production materials from the zones.”
Peza described the eZTS as “an automated system which facilitates the conduct of business by Peza RBEs through the implementation of a simpler and more efficient system for documenting and processing the clearance, release and transfer of goods between Peza-RBEs, in a more secure and transparent manner, lower service fees, and will provide timely report for data analytics.”
It is one of the projects jointly committed by Peza and BOC to pursue reform and modernization of operations in recognition of ecozone locators being the biggest port users and exporters of goods and commodities in the country.
Image credits: peza.gov.ph