te ol op Paper,
We Take a STand
n o V E M B E R 2 2 - 2 8, 2 0 1 0
Doing businessat the BOCnow aster
B Chito JuniA
Traders and importers who
are expecng their shipmentsfrom abroad to arrive in me
for the Christmas holidays haveevery reason to celebrate.
Doing business at the Bureauof Customs (BOC) today is notonly faster, but at a lower costas well, because of the fullimplementaon of its Importand Assessment System (IAS)and the enhanced Risk Manage
ment System (RMS) programs.
While barriers are in place to
detect quesonable shipmentsand high-risk cargoes, releaseof low risk cargoes and ship
-ments of historically compliantimporters can now be done in
30 minutes or less under theBOC’s IAS and RMS programs.According to Customs Com
missioner Angelito Alvarez, theIAS and RMS are just two of themany other programs the bureau isimplemenng to fulll its commit
-ment to deliver faster and world
class service to the public.The IAS’ Electronic toMobile (e2m) system coveringall the bureau’s ports andsub-ports totaling 48, enablesa faster end-to-end cargoclearance process through theuse of mobile broadcasngand internet/Electronic DataInterchange Connecvity.
The RMS operates like a
grading or rang system thatguides BOC personnel in thedeterminaon of low and highrisk cargoes, using the historical
compliance record of shippers/importers.
Based on set selecvitycriteria, all inbound cargoes’
risk levels will be determined.
Those falling under the lowrisk category will be allowedthrough the green lane forfaster processing, while othersmay have to go through strictinspecon in the red lane.In eect, the RMS establish
es a pre-arrival cargo clearance
process for low risk shipmentsand compliant shippers/import-
ers. This program is expectedto encourage and movate
importers to be compliant to
tari laws for faster facilitaon
and release of their shipments.Meanwhile, in its report
for the rst 100 days, thebureau consistently postedimprovements in collecon on amonth-to-month basis, surpass
ing last year’s cash colleconperformance by an averageof P 2.8 billion. As a result theagency’s total cash revenuesfor the period January toSeptember this year surpassedby P 25 billion what it earnedfrom dues and taxes during
the same period last year.
Vis a vis current year targets,
however, there have been
substanal shoralls owinglargely to contracons in theglobal market, the unusualsurge of the peso to the dollarand earlier tari restructuringin compliance with internaonal
The market has shown signsof curtailing the surging peso andthe bureau is pursuing revenueleaks in the past that could makeup for foregone taris.
Moreover, with the
enhanced RMS and IAS, theBureau’s performance in thecoming months is expected tobe even beer.
Originally, it was or low-skilled agri-cultural jobs mainly as plantation workersin Hawaii and then as ruit and vegetablearm workers in Caliornia. Virtually, allbecame permanent migrants. But withthe massive development o the oil andgas industries in the Middle East starting in the sixties, both the occupations andthe temporary 2-3 year duration o the work attracted many skilled constructionand engineering workers to the deserts tothe deserts o the Middle East and thento industrial and manuacturing plants inEurope and other Asian countries. They could earn much better salaries and stillcall the Philippines home.In the last ew years, however, thedominance o the male over the emalein the deployment o OFWs is ast dis-appearing. We have been witnessing adisturbing gender shit as women now outnumber men working in oreignlands. Today nearly 70 percent o OFWsdeployed are women. In the overseasemployment sector, experts claim thissituation is disturbing as women arethe most vulnerable and they work inlow-skilled positions oten without thenormally accepted protections aordedto males. Our domestic workers are notpart o the host government labor orcethus not covered by their labor laws.Lito Soriano, a labor migration expertand a ormer OFW in Saudi Arabia, saysmost o these women are employed asdomestic workers or the champions o industries, decision-makers, and in thehomes o business and government lead-ers in their host country.“As domestic workers they are thecountry’s best PR agents beore industry leaders as they earn the trust o their em-ployers. The trust they earn is a trust alsoearned or their country,” Soriano stated. At this point, domestic workerscomprise over 30 percent o properly documented deployments. To this mustbe added the illegal and human trackeddepartures.Earlier this year, a law was passed thatbans the deployment o OFWs to countriesthat do not have laws protecting migrant workers. Lito Soriano has expressed alarmon the eect o this ban.Following is an interview with LitoSoriano to have better understanding o Republic Act 10022.
OpinYon: Can you tell us about RA10022.Lito Soriano:
RA 10022 is an actamending RA 8042, the Migrant Workersand Overseas Filipinos Act o 1995. Basi-cally, the amendments aim to enhancethe protection o Overseas Filipino Work-ers or OFWs. These include Sec. 3 stating that a host country should have existing laws, protecting the rights o migrant workers, a signatory to and / or a ratieror multilateral conventions, declarationsor resolutions in relation to the protec-tion o workers and migrant workers,and have concluded a bilateral agreement with the government on the protection o the rights o OFWs. As a result, only a ew nations arelikely to meet the criteria mentionedand most o those which will be certi-ed as acceptable are highly developedcountries, thus, the Middle East, North Arican nations, and a number o jobdestinations in Asia that account or 70percent o all land based deployments areunlikely to meet the requirements. Thisnow will denitely aect OFWs as they will lose their jobs.The government has also amendedthe section on penalties and nes. Thereis now an increase in penalties. I a per-son is ound guilty o illegal recruitment,the [recruitment] agency is also liable.Ngayon kahit hindi ikaw ang nagpa-patakbo ng kumpanya, at shareholderka lang, pwede kang isama sa charge atpwede kang makulong. A person willnow suer 12 to 20 years o imprison-ment and nes are increased up to P1 toP2 million depending on the gravity o the case. Also, ailure to submit reports isnow a criminal oense.
OpinYon: How will the law impactthe amilies o OFWs?Lito Soriano:
The ban on deploymentto non-compliant countries will causean alarming increase in the number o unemployed workers. These prospectiveOFWs have no other option but to seek jobs here. Since unemployment rate isballooning, returning OFWs will become jobless, as well.
OpinYon: What prompted the gov-ernment to pass the law?Lito Soriano:
RA 10022 embodiespast governments’ responses to seekgreater protections or OFWs. The pas-sage o this law without socio-economicimpact studies and proper scrutiny o theproblems concerning OFWs is an indica-tion that the government has overlookedmany areas which should have beencareully examined.
OpinYon: What does the govern-ment plan to do with the OFWs whoare let unemployed due to banningo some host countries?Lito Soriano:
Aside rom the insu-cient knowledge on the real situation o OFWs and their respective amilies, thegovernment has not exerted any eort tostudy the impact and implications o thelaw beore it is enorced. This has urthercaused the government to be unpreparedor circumstances such as massive losso jobs. Likewise, the government hasnot prepared a plan o action or OFWsseeking employment abroad.
OpinYon: Does this law encourage il-legal recruitment due to many restric-tions rather than preventing it?Lito Soriano:
Denitely, yes. As thepolicies get rigid, more migrant workers will opt to take illegal means or undocu-mented migration as an easy way out.Human tracking and corruption in ourairports will thrive.
OpinYon: Does the Philippine gov-ernment have the capability to lobbysuch changes in other countries?Lito Soriano:
I we believe it is thebest way to protect our workers, we couldhave used our long established goodwill with these host countries because we havebeen dealing with them and they havebeen our partners or the past 30-45 years.Diplomatically, this is a disaster o epic pro-portions. We are begging other countriesto provide protection to domestic workersthat we cannot give them here. We simply do not care or their welare. The othercountries are aware o this and we havebecome their laughing stock.
OpinYon: What will happen to OFWsin certifed or not-banned countries who will complain o exploitation,maltreatment, illegal dismissal?Lito Soriano:
The government hasnot crated any provision to cover casessuch as this in the implementing rulesand regulation o RA 10022. Ironically,the law which is supposed to protectthe migrant workers will invite moreproblems and issues concerning bothcompliant and non-compliant countries.
OpinYon: Will the law aect theexistence o recruitment agencies inthe country considering the act thatthere will be a decrease in numbero OFW deployment?Lito Soriano:
Yes, this will impactthe recruitment agencies as we expectlower number o overseas employmentopportunities and limited countries or jobdestinations. The government, however,has not expressed any initiative to respondto the issue on the existence o recruitmentagencies. Other labor exporting countriesexert huge eorts to replace Filipinos as thepreerred workers o host countries.
OpinYon: How do you eel as anagency owner, do you think thegovernment treats you airly as apartner o the OFWs?Lito Soriano:
The government ap-pears to be unjust in the creation o thislaw, not only or recruitment agencies butalso or OFWs and their amily as well.The government has positioned recruit-ment agencies as illegal even when theseare operating inside the law. Sadly, it isambivalent with respect to migration even when it uses remittances in recognizing economic sustainability and growth.
For many decades, about ninety percent o Filipinosworking in other countries were men.
B REA Ann sAntos
The ban on deployment to non-compliant countries will cause an alarming increase in the number of unemployed workers.These prospective OFWs have no other option but to seek jobs here. Since unemployment rate is ballooning, returning OFWs will become jobless, as well.