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Guerrero warns customs men over imposing 'unjust' fees from importers.

By Betheena Kae Unite

Rampant collection of "unjust" fees by some erring Customs officials prompted the bureau's top official to issue a warning backed with an order over the illegal activity.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero issued a stern warning to his men for the alleged collection of unnecessary fees from importers as he signed Customs Memorandum Order 30-2019.

"Due to the issue of unjust fees being charged by unscrupulous individuals allegedly in favor of BOC, all customs officials and employees entrusted with the collection of taxes, fees, and other imports are enjoined to strictly comply with the said order," Guerrero said Wednesday.

The commissioner reaffirmed that only legitimate fees must be collected from importers.

A list of allowed customs fees and charges that may only be imposed and collected by the bureau was provided in the new memorandum order.

The issuance of the order came after a group of brokers revealed that personnel assigned at the Office of the Commissioner and Import Assessment Service (IAS) were allegedly involved in the collection of "tara" or grease money among stakeholders.

An earlier report by the Manila Bulletin bared that "the IAS has imposed a new 'tara' system that entails them to pay P3,000 per container of general merchandise."

"The amount guarantees that any importer will be able to pay 'duties and taxes' that reach only from P180,000 to P200,000 each container instead of P250,000 to P300,000 if they refused," the group of brokers said.

Importers of vehicles are asked to pay from P50,000 to P100,000 per unit and those who refuse will be asked to pay the maximum amount in duties and taxes.

Under the order, any unauthorized collection or illegal imposition of fees and charges not covered by the list shall be criminally and administratively charged and punished to the full extent of law.

Further, importers were also reminded to remain vigilant against illegal practices involving the bureau such as collection and imposition of unjust fees and charges by dishonest individuals.

Guerrero encouraged stakeholders and victims of such deceitful acts to report the incidents to his office.

"The Bureau of Customs does not and will never tolerated unjust practices in the agency," the customs chief added.


Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero (BOC / MANILA BULLETIN)

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Jun 19, 2019
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