Issue of September 8, 2019
     
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Application for phytosanitary permits now online, BPI says
by Press release

The Bureau of Plant Industry started implementing the electronic certification of phytosanitary certificates (PCs).

The BPI launched on Aug 22. its ePhytosanitary Web Application (ephyto.intercommerce.com.ph), the system that allows exporters to apply for electronic PC or ePhyto that enabled the Philippines to exchange ePhyto certificates with other trading countries and eventually do away with paper versions.

BPI director George Culaste in a memorandum to stakeholders dated Aug. 15 however said that the PC will be printed at the Plant Quarantine Station office to use the accountable forms.

ePhyto is a global initiative under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), a multilateral treaty deposited with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and recognized by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which the Philippines is a member of.

Since 2011, the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, which oversees the implementation of the IPPC, has been encouraging electronic certification.

BPI National Plant Quarantine Services Division assistant chief Gerald Glenn Panganiban, earlier said BPI, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, is pushing for automation to make the Philippines compliant with the IPPC and WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement.

He added that BPI’s push for ePhyto also came after seeing the benefits of automation when it implemented the electronic submission of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPS IC) applications.

Panganiban said that previously, BPI took five days to one week to process SPS IC applications, but with automation, the process is down to 1.5 days to three days.

BPI’s ePhyto system is provided by value-added service provider InterCommerce Network Services, Inc. (INS), the same provider of other automated solutions to BPI and other DA-attached agencies.

According to the ePhyto manual, exporters just need to register through the website to apply for an ePhyto and schedule a site inspection. The system provides an audit trail indicating the date and time of the changes to and movement of the application.

Since the system is online, traders can file applications and schedule inspections anytime and anywhere there is internet connection. This saves exporters time and money compared with the current process of going to BPI's offices to apply and wait for a schedule for inspection, then returning to the BPI office to get their phytosanitary certificate.

The system will also improve efficiency at BPI, Panganiban said, as the agency will be able to process PCs anywhere there is internet connection.


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