The Philippines Bureau of Customs sits under the Department of Finance: Bureau of Customs website
The Bureau has the following duties under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (RA 10863):
(a) Assessment and collection of customs revenues from imported goods and other dues, fees, charges, fines and penalties accruing under the CMTA;
(b) Simplification and harmonization of customs procedures to facilitate movement of goods in international trade;
(c) Border control to prevent entry of smuggled goods;
(d) Prevention and suppression of smuggling and other customs fraud;
(e) Facilitation and security of international trade and commerce through an informed compliance program;
(f) Supervision and control over the entrance and clearance of vessels and aircraft engaged in foreign commerce;
(g) Supervision and control over the handling of foreign mails arriving in the Philippines for the purpose of collecting revenues and preventing the entry of contraband;
(h) Supervision and control on all import and export cargoes, landed or stored in piers, airports, terminal facilities, including container yards and freight stations for the protection of government revenue and prevention of entry of contraband;
(i) Conduct a compensation study with the end view of developing and recommending to the President a competitive compensation and remuneration system to attract and retain highly qualified personnel, while ensuring that the Bureau remains financially sound and sustainable;
(j) Exercise of exclusive original jurisdiction over forfeiture cases under the CMTA; and
(k) Enforcement of the CMTA and all other laws, rules and regulations related to customs administration.
The Bureau of Customs has 17 Customs Districts (as enumerated below). Each Customs District is headed and supervised by a District Collector, assisted by as many Deputy District Collectors as may be necessary. A Customs District has a designated “principal port of entry”. Generally, a principal port of entry has its “sub-port(s) of entry”.
Principal Port of Entry
Customs District I
Port of San Fernando in San Fernando, La Union
Customs District II-A
Port of Manila (POM) in Port Area, Manila
Customs District II-B
Manila International Container Port (MICP) in Tondo, Manila
Customs District III
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City
Customs District IV
Port of Batangas in Batangas City
Customs District V
Port of Legazpi in Legazpi City
Customs District VI
Port of Iloilo in Iloilo City
Customs District VII
Port of Cebu in Cebu City
Customs District VIII
Port of Tacloban in Tacloban City
Customs District IX
Port Surigao in Surigao City
Customs District X
Port of Cagayan De Oro in Cagayan De Oro City
Customs District XI
Port of Zamboanga in Zamboanga City
Customs District XII
Port of Davao in Davao City
Customs District XIII
Port of Subic in Subic, Zambales
Customs District XIV
Port of Clark in Clark, Pampanga
Customs District XV
Port of Aparri in Aparri, Cagayan
Customs District XVI
Port of Limay in Bataan
Customs District XVII Port of Limay
Please see the following link for a list of restricted items.
Please see the following link for a description of documentation requirements.
The taxing authority in the Philippines falls under Bureau of Internal Revenue.
During times of emergency humanitarian goods can receive fast track customs clearance procedures and be imported duty free. However, that is on a case by case basis and importers should not assume that humanitarian goods will always receive those privileges.
The following goods, services and transactions are exempted from VAT:
The Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD) and the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS) regulate food quantity and import and export of agriculture products within the Philippines. Under the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, FDA was made responsible for the safety of processed food products while the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) made BAFPS accountable for fresh and primary agricultural and fisheries products.
The Department of Agriculture is responsible for food safety in the primary production and post-harvest stages of the supply chain. The Department of Health is responsible for the safety of processed and pre-packaged foods, both locally produced and imported, and the conduct of epidemiological studies. Local government units (LGUs) will monitor the compliance with food safety standards of food businesses such as slaughterhouses, dressing plants, wet markets, supermarkets, school canteens, restaurants, catering establishments, as well as street food sales. The Department of the Interior and Local Government, in collaboration with the DA and DOH will supervise the enforcement of food safety and sanitary rules and regulations. A Food Safety Regulation Coordinating Board was created to monitor compliance with the law, coordinate management and planning during food safety emergencies, and establish policies and procedures for coordination among agencies involved in food safety.
The Department of Health is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for ensuring access to basic public health services by all Filipinos through the provision of quality health care and the regulation of all health services and products.
Organizations wishing to import medicine and/or medical equipment must check carefully the regulations provided by the Department of Health as certain items are prohibited: Department of Health website
The Philippines Government has trade agreements in place with ASEAN, an economic partnership agreement with Japan, European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement. The Philippines and EFTA members – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – signed a free trade agreement in 2016 which is expected to enter into force in 2018.
Additionally, the Philippines has free trade agreements with China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia and New Zealand under ASEAN. Visit the Department of Trade and Industry website on Free Trade Agreements and the Tariff Commission website for a list of Philippine trade agreements and corresponding tariff schedules and commitments. Other trade-related information is also available at the Philippine National Trade Repository website.
For more information on regulatory departments contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Philippines Government Contact List