Customs to implement ‘no noon break policy’ leading to Christmas
Regular working hours in all ports starting September will be from 7 am to 7 pm, Monday to Friday without noon break, said Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina
FULL LOAD. Shipments of imports are expected to pick up as the holiday period draws nearer. File photo from the ICTSI website

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs will implement its “no noon break policy” starting September in all ports and subports nationwide in a bid to ensure that no port congestion flares up in the months leading to Christmas.

Regular working hours in all ports will start from  7 am to 7 pm from Monday to Friday without noon break, said Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina.

He also highlighted that there will be no holidays to make sure commitments are delivered.

“We will exhaust all means for an improved Customs service delivery to a higher level committed to reducing inefficiencies and delay. We intend for the ber-months to pass by smoothly without any reports of port congestion. There will be no regular non-working holidays for us in the bureau leading to Christmas,” Lina said.

It will be the responsibility of the division chiefs to arrange the working schedule of each staff making sure there is no service interruption, Lina added.

Working in shifts 

The flexible working hours will divide the existing staff into two shifts: either from 7 am to 4 pm with lunch break at 11 am to noon, or from 10 am to 7 pm with lunch break at 1 pm to 2 pm.

The commissioner has instructed district and port collectors to directly coordinate with their respective arrastre operators and other stakeholders in the ports and subports to ensure that the extended working hours are fully supported by their respective operations.

The bureau said that to enhance delivery of services and to streamline the processing of documents, it will strictly implement the Civil Service Commission’s mandate directed towards government agencies providing front line services.   

The Office of the Commissioner in the Bureau and the divisions under it will retain its regular working hours of 8 am to 5 pm except that services will now be continuous.

“We’re in the last quarter of the game with only a few months left in the administration. But with the right foundation and enough willpower, anything is possible. We can deliver private sector competitiveness to the public sector. Wait and see,” Lina said. –