Interview with Mr. Bautista on PICARD2016

10.5.2016: CBRA Interview with Mr. Samuel Bautista from the Philippines

Hi Sam, and thanks for joining CBRA interview – and stopping by here in Geneva. Can you please first tell a bit of you and what you do in the Philippines?

First of all, let me thank you for inviting me for this interview with CBRA today. I am a customs broker in the Philippines, focusing my work mostly in the academia, teaching in the university and managing the Academy of Developmental Logistics that offers training for customs and logistics professionals. In October 2015, I was asked to join the technical team of the Customs Commissioner to help in the modernization and reform programs, as well as in the preparation for the Philippines’ hosting of the WCO PICARD 2016 Conference in Manila.

We know each other since many years from the WCO PICARD – customs-academia partnership program – conferences. Would you recall in which conference we met the first time?

I learned about the WCO PICARD conferences through my academic associations, although I registered but missed the 2010 Conference in Abu Dhabi. Luckily, my paper on customs-academia partnership was selected for presentation during the 2011 PICARD in Geneva, where I first met you and the CBRA team. Since then – except for the 2012 Conference in Morocco – I have been regularly attending the annual conference. I also remember that it was in Geneva when we first expressed our invitation for the participants to come to the Philippines.

That’s correct, you did mention in Geneva about your interest to organize the PICARD conference one day – and now, five years later, you are in the organizing team of the 11th PICARD conference, to be held in Manilla, the Philippines, September this year – congratulations on that! Where do you stand with the conference organizations at the moment?

Thank you for supporting our bid to host the conference. We are putting everything in place and took preliminary steps for the preparation. For this reason, we visited the WCO in Brussels few weeks ago and met with the team of Mr. Robert Ireland to discuss and firm up important details for the Conference. We also had the opportunity to sit down briefly with the Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya for some key points he stressed about the Conference.  I know that it would be a great challenge for us but we are also reviewing and following the best practices taken in the past PICARD conferences. With the guidance of the WCO Research team, the Scientific Committee for WCO and the PICARD Advisory Group, we are confident about the steps we are taking.

Yes, I know from the experience that incredible number of details must be properly managed, starting from 12 months before the conference, all the way to the opening day – and, beyond… But, you think you will manage to take all steps on time?

As I personally experienced in 2011, despite the limited number of CBRA staff you had, I believe that you did a great job then!  Every year is an exciting experience for all of us – PICARD attendees, and we would like to pick up from there. We are following a very strict timeline in coordination with Mr. Ireland of WCO and our team in the Philippine Customs. We also tapped the support and expertise of our colleagues in the academia and the business community and we believe that working together could help us deliver our commitment in hosting the PICARD conference.

Great! And what are your main expectations regarding the outcomes of the 11th PICARD conference?

When we first expressed our intention to host the conference, we would like to show to the global customs community not just the rich history of our culture and heritage, but also the progress that the academia, the business community and customs have initiated and put together in moving forward to a modern and efficient customs management. It is also very important to note that the Philippine legislature recently passed the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and we are expecting the President to sign this into law very soon.

Excellent! Please let me and my colleagues know if we can be of any further help… And looking forward to seeing you again – by the way, this will be my first time in the Philippines! Thanks again Sam for the interview!  Juha.

I feel excited seeing all of you in the Philippines and for first-time visitors like you Juha, we would make sure that you will surely be afforded the Filipino hospitality we are known of! Let me thank you again for the warm welcome you gave in 2011 and today. Mabuhay!

Collaborative Border Management in Thailand and Neighbouring Countries: Needs, Challenges and Issues, June 2013 (CORE2014)

Summary: Thailand is interested in coordinated border management conceptualization and implementation like many other countries. There are, however, some special challenges that Thailand faces when the country tries to strengthen cooperation with its neighbouring countries. The reviewed document is available for download at: Collaborative Border Management in Thailand and Neighboring Countries: Needs, Challenges and Issues.

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Full review: The report proposes a set of recommendations for implementing coordinated border management:

  1. A policy approach is needed, in which control and facilitation are not considered as mutually exclusive. Agencies from Thailand and neighbouring countries should define a common framework for the operations, with the awareness of the importance of costs and time reduction.
  2. There is no key host for negotiations to develop rules and regulations on border crossings with neighbouring countries. The agencies, which should be involved in the decision making and integration process, have not been identified yet. The implementation of CBM needs a clear definition about the role of the agencies involved.
  3. One topic being discussed on the implementation of CBM is the screening of people who cross the border. In this case, it is necessary to define a government policy to enhance the efficiency in border crossing.
  4. Information technology. There is a lack of necessary databases, materials and equipment to improve the efficiency of people screening. Definitely, IT is one of the most important topics to be improved, and it is necessary to define a single system for screening and monitoring border crossings.
  5. The border check points lack standardized systems for managing public utilities and suffer from congestion. There is a clear need for a government policy that would standardize the border activities and improve border infrastructure.