Special Contribution from Bureau of Customs of the Philippines


Special Contribution from Bureau of Customs of the Philippines
 
6 March 2017
 
Introduction
 
Mr. Milo D. Maestrecampo, MBA, CSP, Director of Import Assessment Services, Bureau of Customs (BOC) of the Philippines,participated in the WCO Regional Workshop on Capacity Building of Customs Laboratories for the Revenue Package Programme and Trade Facilitation held on 9-11 November 2016 at WCO Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL) in Kashiwa, Japan.  He made use of the lesson-learned and took follow-up actions for contributing to the further development of the Philippine Customs Laboratory (PCL).  They are now accepting samples for laboratory analysis report by analyzing it through its current capacity or through recommendation for laboratory testing to other government or private laboratories.
 
In this regard, the restoration of the PCL will enable the BOC to enforce regulations in matters relating to Customs tariff, classification, and verification. They are hoping to reduce if not eradicate the incidence of misclassification or undervaluation of imports which will help collect precise duties and taxes with a view to protectingthe society through the establishment of correct classification of goods for revenue purposes or through the protectionof people against unsafe or dangerous products.
 
The below article is the current status of the PCL after the above-mentioned Workshop.  The ROCB A/P is glad to see the workshop participant to take follow-up actions and hope it will inspire the other Customs administration on their Customs chemical analysis development.
 
 
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PHILIPPINE CUSTOMS LABORATORY
 
By: Milo D. Maestrecampo, MBA, CSP
Director, Import Assessment Services
Bureau of Customs of the Philippines
 
 
The Philippine Customs Laboratory (PCL) objective since its creation is to ensure collection of proper duties and taxes and strictly enforce all Customs Laws, rules and regulations governing chemical and pharmaceutical shipments (CMO 36-93 dated 05 August 1993).
 
Under the administration of Customs Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon, the PCL is now on its course of reviving its function since it was neglected in the past years. Moreover, the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has started hiring new personnel/chemists to oversee the laboratory.
 
PCL Current Capacity
The new hired Chemists took a complete PCL inventory checking. Most of the equipment are not upheld from the preceding years, thus some equipment are defective and unable to use. Some chemicals stocked in the laboratory are also expired and need to be replaced and disposed.
Furthermore, some equipment were examined and found out that it’s still functional and ready to use while the others are working but in need of calibration and some repair.
Below is the list of equipment found in the PCL that are serviceable as of the moment.
 
Equipment
Findings
Remarks/Suggestions
 
1. Oil Rotary Vacuum Pump
Power supply is working.
Vacuum motor is working.
Serviceable
2. Typewriter
Dusty & very old.
Parts still functioning
Serviceable.
3. Auto-Water Distillation Apparatus.
First filter was soiled.
Second and third were slightly dirty.
Power supply is working.
Display is visible.
Serviceable.
Recommend to change for filters.
4. Fumehood
Power supply is working.
Exhaust fan is functioning.
Serviceable.
5.120 Temperature Oven
Power supply is working.
Thermostat is functioning.
Display is visible.
Corroded steel trays inside.
Serviceable/ For replacement of steel trays.
6. Weighing Scale
(Analytical Balance)
Power supply is working.
Display is visible.
Out of calibration.
Doubtful of result in weighing.
Serviceable/for calibration.
7. Hot plate
Power supply is working.
Temperature regulator is working.
Serviceable.
8. Hot plate with stirrer
Power supply is working.
Temperature regulator is working.
Stirring regulator is function.
Serviceable.
Need to purchase magnetic
Stirrer.
9. Boiler
Power supply is working.
Thermal regulator is working.
All parts were visible.
Serviceable.
10. Tensile Strength Tester
Good as new.
Serviceable.
 
11. Mechanical Oven
Good as new.
Serviceable.
 
Below is the list of equipment found in the PCL that are in need for consultation (instrumentation) and for calibration.
 
Equipment
Findings
Remarks/Suggestions
 
1. Kokusan Centrifuge
Complete set.
Power supply is working.
Timer is not functioning.
For repair of speed selector.
Consult for repair technician.
2. Seive Shaker
Power supply is working.
Timer is still working.
Seive shaker knob is not functioning anymore.
For replacement of sieve shaker knob.
3. Furnace 1500
Physical appearance is still polished.
Power supply is working.
Display is visible.
Temperature regulator is not working.
Cannot reach the set temperature.
For repair of temperature regulator.
Consult for repair technician.
4. Weighing Scale
(Analytical Balance)
Power supply is working.
Display is visible.
Out of calibration.
Doubtful result in weighing.
For calibration.
5. Auto-Surface Tensiometer
Power supply is working.
Display is visible.
Parts are well functioning.
Out of calibration.
For calibration.
 
INITIAL PCL Capacity Proposal
It is the PCL’s objective in accord to the Commissioner’s mandate to start with the testing of chemicals such as petroleum, oil, and fuel.  Thus, the PCL staff has come up with a procurement proposal for equipment and chemical reagent to start the initial testing.
 
List of proposed equipment and chemical reagents needed for chemical testing:
 
Equipment
Function
Application
 
Fourier Transform- Infrared Spectrometer
Identify chemical compounds; Offer quantitative and qualitative analysis for organic and inorganic samples
·         Consumer products, paints, polymers, coatings, foods, pharmaceuticals
·         Organic and inorganic samples
Analytical Balance
For accurate measurement of small mass of samples (sub-milligram range)
·         Preparation of chemicals (reagents,solutions)
·         Powdered and crystal samples
·         Other materials/samples
pH Meter
Measures the hydrogen-ion concentration in a solution, indicating its acidity or alkalinity
·         Agriculture (soil)
·         Water quality for water supply system
·         Healthcare (sterilants, disinfectants)
·         Brewery (alcohol,spirits,etc.)
·         Many other applications
Carbon/Sulfur Analyzer
Allow simultaneous analysis of high and low carbon and sulfur concentrations in one measurement
·         alloys, carbides, cast iron, cement, ceramics, copper, glass, iron, minerals, ores, refractory metals, sand, steel, titanium, waste
Digital Thermometer
 
Used in measuring temperature (sample, ambient, room)
·         All samples that needs temperature reading
Furnace
For ashing organic and inorganic samples, determining volatile and suspended solids, gravimetric analysis, heat treating of small steel parts, and ignition test
·         Organic and inorganic samples
·         Bunker fuel/lube oil
·         Other combustible materials
Bomb Calorimeter
Determines the heat of combustion or calorific value of materials which are burned as fuels
·         Coal and coke, all varieties and types
·         Fuel oil, both heavy and light  varieties
·         Foodstuffs and supplements for human nutrition
·         Building materials
·         Combustible materials
·         Gasoline, all motor fuel and aviation types fuels, all varieties
Automatic Colorimeter measuring saybolt and ASTM color
For objective colour analysis of petroleum fuels, oils, waxes and petrochemicals according to the Saybolt and ASTM Colour scales
·         Light colored petroleum products including aviation fuels, kerosene, white mineral oils, hydrocarbon solvents, petroleum waxes
·         Lubricating oil, heating oil and diesel fuel oil

 
Karl-Fischer Titrator
Moisture determination method specific for water and is suitable for samples with high moisture content (titrimetry) and also for those with water contents in the ppm range (coulometry).  Also suitable for solids if these are soluble or if the water they contain can be removed by heating in a stream of gas or by extraction
·         Cosmetics
·         Chemicals groups (alcohol, acid, base,etc.)
·         Foodstuff (sugar, rice, oils,etc.)
·         Petroleum products(crude oil, diesel fuel, lube oil, kerosene, etc.)
·         Pharmaceuticals
·         Technical products( silica gel, propylene carbonate, synthetic enamel)
Distillation Unit
Method of determining the boiling range characteristics of a mixture/solution
·         Petroleum products (fuels, solvents,automotive and aviation gasolines, paints, etc)
 
Chemicals
Unit/Qty
Chemicals
Unit/Qty
Concentrated hydrochloric acid
AR 2.5 L
Methanol
AR 2.5 L
Concentrated sulfuric acid
AR 2.5 L
Copper sulfate pentahydrate
AR 500 grams
Sodium hydroxide
AR 500 grams
Potassium iodide
AR 500 grams
 Potassium hydroxide
AR 500 grams
Nitric acid
AR 2.5 L
Phenolphthalein
AR 500 grams
Sodium oxalate
AR 500 grams
2 , 4 - dinitrophenylhydrazine
AR 500 grams
Sodium thiocyanide
AR 500 grams
Starch
AR 500 grams
Copper strip
100 strips
Toluene AR
2.5 L
Oxalic acid
AR 500 grams
Potassium permanganate
AR 500 grams
Potassium dichromate
AR 500 grams
Ethanol
AR 2.5 L
Potassium nitrate
AR 500 grams
Ammonium hydroxide
AR 500 grams
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Our objective is to initially analyze shipments on oil, steel, and prohibited drugs as these importations are crucial to the BOC’s revenue collection and trade facilitation.  By analyzing these shipments, the BOC will be able to strengthen its capacity on valuation, classification, trade facilitation and ensure the border integrity through the analysis of prohibited drugs. Furthermore, the equipment and chemicals mentioned above were already requested for immediate purchase.