Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Tereso O. Panga and Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio on Tuesday solidified a legacy reform project through the signing of a Data Sharing Agreement for the further enhancement of the monitoring of movements of ecozone goods under the Electronic Transfer of Containerized Cargo (E-TRACC) system.
Launched in 2020 through Customs Memorandum Order No. 04-2020, the E-TRACC system tracks the inland movement of containerized cargoes upon release from the Port of Discharge / ecozone for transit to the destination ecozones / port of loading for import and export, respectively.
The Data Sharing Agreement now allows PEZA to have 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. This is to ensure that importation and exportation of tax- and duty-free goods arrive and reach the intended PEZA economic zones / port loading.
Furthermore, it particularly promotes the integration, interoperability and interconnection of both agencies’ respective systems in direct compliance to Executive Order 18 that establishes Green Lanes for strategic investments as mandated by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
Commissioner Rubio stated, “We firmly believe that sharing secured data with PEZA will enable us to coordinate our efforts and drive collective improvements toward seamless trade facilitation. Surely, this will pave the way for improved day-to-day operations and will further buttress our trade facilitation performances.”
Echoing this, DG Panga expressed, “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 reiterates its full support to the implementation of Electronic Zone Transfer System (eZTS) as contained under Joint Memorandum Order (JMO) No. 2-2015 dated 24 July 2015.
Initially, PEZA 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.”
The eZTS is 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 secured and transparent manner, lower service fees, and will provide timely report for data analytics.
The eZTS is one of the projects jointly committed by PEZA and BOC to pursue reform and modernization of its operations in recognition of ecozone locators being the biggest port users and exporters of goods and commodities in the country.
“In all these, I think our locators appreciate much the efforts we put into this because other than speeding up the process, this will enhance transparency and integrity of our transactions—reinforcing PEZA’s core values and longstanding policy of no red tape but only red-carpet treatment for investors,” noted the PEZA Chief.
He added, “With the BOC’s strong support, the efforts PEZA exerted throughout these years in connection with digitalization will continue and remain steadfast to improve office and administrative efficiencies, customer satisfaction, and facilitation for our investors, resulting to further ease of doing business, not only in PEZA but the entire country in general.”
In response to this, Rubio ensured that BOC will remain its partner in this endeavor. “We are certain that with the unwavering support of PEZA, we will be able to achieve the purpose of the Agreement with the end goal of ensuring the smooth and efficient flow of goods across borders,” said the Customs Commissioner.
To date, PEZA houses about 4,352 locator companies, mostly export-oriented, across 422 ecozones nationwide.