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The Philippines Unveils Automated Boarding System


The Automated Boarding Assignment Management System (ABAMS) was recently introduced by the Piers and Inspection Division of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu.

The ABAMS is a web-based system for allocating boarding teams to inbound foreign vessels that were developed locally by the Port of Cebu. In contrast to conventional manual assignments utilising roulette, the System ensures quick and convenient boarding assignments.

The system includes real-time updates about boarding assignments, including personnel and vessel status, approval of requests by the deputy district collector for operations, generation of an electronic copy of assignment orders, automatic SMS notification of assignments to members of the boarding team, automatic report uploading after boarding formalities are complete, and automatic assignment of boarding teams at random.

The Port of Cebu continues to develop good governance initiatives and use automation and digital solutions in its systems and processes in keeping with the government’s goal of a digital Philippines and with a direction to transition to technology-enabled governance. In addition, by utilising the organisation’s updated Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs), the BOC further strengthens its border control capabilities.

With the addition of FPVs to the BOC’s arsenal of enforcement instruments, the agency’s capacity to conduct water patrols was significantly enhanced. The Enforcement and Security Service-Water Patrol Division (WPD) and its District Offices carried out 265 maritime patrols, 60 search and survey operations, and boarded 50 vessels of interest between January and September of this year. Two of these vessels received Warrants for Seizure and Detention (WSD).

The fuel oil sampled from the boats that were given WSDs did not pass the Fuel Marking test carried out by the BOC Fuel Marking Team. Additionally, the vessels departed the Port of Limay without receiving the appropriate approval from the relevant Philippine Coast Guard and BOC offices.

Additionally, the ship’s officers neglected to show documentation of the payment of taxes and duties. WSDs were issued against the vessels for breaking Republic Act No. 10864, also known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, Sections 103 or When Importation Begins and Deemed Terminated and 1401 or Unlawful Importation/Exportation.

The FPV is a sea-tested high-speed interceptor with smooth navigation that can withstand a sea state 3. To improve the Bureau’s border patrol operations, it is also outfitted with Garmin Navigation systems and other standard water patrol equipment.

Twenty FPV units are now being used by the BOC in various ports across the country. The FPVs were sent to the ports of Batangas, Subic, Limay, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao in groups of two units each, with one unit going to the port of Iloilo, three units going to the port of Manila, and four units going to the port of Zamboanga.

According to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s orders, the BOC promises to continue its unceasing efforts to guard the nation’s borders against the entry of illegal products by enhancing its intelligence and enforcement capacities and by improving its port surveillance and water patrol capabilities.

Meanwhile, OpenGov Asia earlier reported that the BOC is stepping up the deployment of the Electronic Tracking of Containerised Cargo (E-TRACC) System to improve monitoring of container location and movement to ensure the safe passage of imported goods.

The E-TRACC System, which was launched with the issuance of Customs Memorandum Order 04-2020, enables real-time monitoring of inland movements of containerised goods using an Information and Communications Technology-enabled system, such as a GPS-enabled tracking device, to ensure its transport to its intended destination.

E-TRACC continues to be an important tool for BOC in identifying and avoiding illicit acts during cargo movements, such as wrong container delivery, missing containers, and inappropriate diversion.


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