Air travelers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) can now declare goods and currency via online using the electronic baggage declaration form, making the Philippines the third country in Asia to use the system.
Passengers with valuable goods or money to declare can fill up and submit the electronic Customs Baggage and Currency Declaration (e-CBCD) using their mobile phones and gadgets.
“Today marks another milestone in the journey of the Bureau of Customs towards its vision of a modernized customs administration that is among the world’s best. True to this vision, the Philippines is now the 3rd country in ASEAN, after Singapore and Indonesia, to implement an electronic Customs Baggage and Currencies Declaration System or the i-Declare System,” said Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero at the launch of the project.
“We hope that through this system, our passengers would have more convenient travel experience to the Philippines,” Guerrero said.
The system, according NAIA Customs Deputy Collector for Passengers Service Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang, offers air travelers an option to complete their declarations online, anywhere or at the comforts of their home before flying-in to the Philippines.
Mangaoang said in case the passengers were not able to declare online prior to arrival, they may still use the paper copy or the electronic Customs Baggage and Currencies Declaration Form through the i-Declare Kiosks found at the airport’s Customs Area.
She said the system shall initially be piloted here in NAIA Terminal 1 and subsequently rolled-out to other international airports by 2023.
The project was an offshoot of the action plan of the Bureau of Customs, together with the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to remove the Philippines from the countries greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force, which basically puts the Philippines in a less attractive position to investors.
Customs law provides that “whenever dutiable goods are not declared by any person arriving within the Philippines, such goods shall be seized and the person may obtain release of such goods, if not imported contrary to any law, upon payment of a surcharge equivalent to 30% of the landed cost of such goods.”