Bureau of Customs-NAIA to exceed collection target – Commissioner Isidro Lapeña

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WITH the operation of the new x-ray machines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña expects to more than meet this year’s target revenue of PhP50.1 billion for the country’s premier gateway.

Lapeña said with the new x-ray machines, taxable items can be easily detected as well as drugs and guns hidden on luggage and balikbayan boxes without opening them.

The former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general, who inaugurated the new x-ray machines to signal the start of its operations, said a total of 19 units, costing PhP172 million will be assigned the NAIA terminals.

“These are advance units. We will be able to improve the facilitation of luggage and at the same time, every box or bag would be subjected to thorough inspections.”

District III Collector Ed Macabeo said that two units and one unit of brand new Rapiscan x-ray machines are now installed at NAIA Terminal 1 and 3 respectively.

Sixteen x-rays machines will be installed at the three terminals of NAIA while two mobile x-ray machines will be utilized to check personal belongings and luggage of VIPs and celebrities, especially those with chartered flights and whose aircraft are parked at the remote parking of NAIA terminals.

Macabeo pointed out that their collection target during the lean month was a whopping P3 billion per month, 11 percent deficit on monthly target collection of P4.2 billion.

Nevertheless, there was time that they hit the target collection during the month of February, March and May, he added.

“We made it, and even exceeded from the target despite that the port is not so big like the other port such as the Manila International Container Port and the Port of Manila,” Macabeo insists.

Six months ago, NAIA came up with a policy not to open or subject to inspection the check-in luggage of passengers unless it was marked “X” indicating it may contain taxable items.

The bureau has designated two lanes – red and green – for passengers and crew of arriving international flights to choose where to exit.

The green lane is designated for passengers and crew who have nothing to declare or have no goods for purposes of import duties and taxes, with goods that can be admitted free of import duties and taxes or do not carry any goods which are subject to import prohibition, restriction and regulation.

The red lane, on the other hand, is intended for passengers of international airlines with goods to declare for purposes of import duties or taxes, those with goods above the exempted Customs limits, or carrying goods or articles prohibited, controlled or regulated by several statues.

Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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