THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) is set to deploy six new X-ray machines in major ports over the remainder of the year, and is considering budget proposals for more such equipment.
Of the six scanners for containerized shipments, four will go to the two major Manila ports while the other two will be sent to ports in Visayas and Mindanao, a BoC official said.
“We’ve purchased six modern X-ray facilities. These are large scanners for containerized shipments. Four of them will be going to the two major Manila ports,” BoC Post Clearance Audit Group Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip C. Maronilla told BusinessWorld Monday.
Mr. Maronilla said the acquisition of the x-ray machines cost P2 billion and has taken up this year’s equipment budget, but further acquisitions could be proposed under the 2020 BoC budget.
“We’re still deliberating the final budget proposal but it will mostly cover some of the modern equipment that we need… and the construction of the customs training institute and modernization of some of our buildings,” he added.
The Senate finance committee has said that it hopes to have the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget signed by Dec. 15, ahead of the scheduled adjournment of Congress on Dec. 20.
The new machines, according to Mr. Maronilla, are “at par” with the most modern equipment currently in use for customs examinations. The units are equipped to scan and detect illegal substances, distinguish between organic and non-organic products and process containers running past the scanner at 20 kph.
Meanwhile, he said the upcoming X-ray machine donations from China, which are designed to scan baggage, will complement the new acquisitions. The China equipment includes specialized mobile scanners for certain types of goods. — Beatrice M. Laforga