THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) will review its new, more detailed baggage declaration form required from passengers arriving in international airports to avoid misinterpretations.
In the new Customs form, additional items such as “abortion paraphernalia,” and “materials advocating or inciting treason, rebellion, insurrection, sedition against the government of the Philippines” were included in the list of prohibited items.
BoC-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Law Division Chief Marlon M. Agaceta explained that the items added to the list were actually already part of the previous form.
“The said articles or items were previously covered by the ‘prohibited’ clause in the old Customs baggage declaration form particularly paragraph No. 4A thereof, but were simply spelled out in the new Customs baggage declaration form,” Mr. Agaceta said in an e-mailed response to BusinessWorld.
”Nevertheless, the Bureau of Customs is already in the process of revisiting the new Customs baggage declaration form to ensure the details contained thereon will be properly understood by passengers and/or travelers, and avoid contrary interpretation and/or opinions relative thereto, and to provide better government service,” he added.
Mr. Agaceta pointed out that these new listed items have long been prohibited under the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines as amended, and in the new Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
Section 102.b of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines or the Republic Act (RA) No. 1937 states that it is prohibited to import “written or printed article in any form containing any matter advocating or inciting treason, rebellion, insurrection or sedition against the government of the Philippines, of forcibly resistance to any law of the Philippines, or containing any threat to take the life of or inflict bodily harm upon any person in the Philippines.”
The law also prohibits the importation of “articles, instruments, drugs and substances designed, intended or adapted for preventing human conception or producing unlawful abortion, or any printed matter which advertises or describes or gives directly or indirectly information, where, how or whom by human conception is prevented or unlawful abortion produced.” — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio