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House panel approves bill seeking to prevent bulk cash smuggling

THE House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would require a written declaration for the cross-border transfer of foreign currencies and monetary instruments worth more than $10,000 to help address bulk cash smuggling.

“The proposed measure will facilitate ease in the transmittal of remittances of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) through formal channels safely and consistently,” OFW Party-list Representative Marissa P. Magsino told the panel.

ANAKALUSUGAN Rep. Ray T. Reyes, chairman of the technical working group (TWG) that included enhancements to the bill, included the electronic means of declaring cross-border transfer of foreign currencies and monetary instruments, following the Customs bureau’s Electronic Customs Baggage and Currency Declaration System under Customs Memorandum Order No. 11-2022.

“Declarants will be required under the substitute bill to file their declaration under oath either through written or electronic means,” Mr. Reyes said.

The unnumbered substitute bill requires Customs officers to assist arriving passengers in accomplishing their currency declaration forms, he added.

“In case of inadvertent non-declaration, or unintentional inaccurate declaration, they shall also be allowed to rectify these mistakes with the assistance of a Customs officer,” Mr. Reyes said.

The bill defines bulk cash smuggling as physically transporting in and out of the Philippines foreign currency or monetary instruments worth over $200,000, as well as the “concealment and transport of or attempt to transport foreign currency and/or foreign currency-denominated bearer monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 or its equivalent in other foreign currency into and out of the Philippines with the intent to escape or make false declarations.”

Mr. Reyes said the TWG added definitions to bulk cash smuggling, namely failing to declare the unaccompanied foreign currency transported, transferred, or already received; making a false declaration, which will be considered as fraud; and structuring the physical cross-border transfer of foreign currency.

A similar bill was approved on third reading by the 18th Congress. — B.M.D. Cruz

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