Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » BOC chief confident of meeting P598B collection target in 2018

Philippine Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña has committed to President Rodrigo Duterte that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will hit its P598.1-billion revenue collection target for this year to help fund the government’s priority programs.

“Mr. President, the Bureau of Customs is giving our full commitment to hit our 2018 collection target and deliver the much needed revenue to fund your priority program,” Lapeña said in a speech during BOC’s 116th founding anniversary celebration on Feb 6, which Duterte attended.

The customs chief is optimistic about hitting this year’s target, as he reported that BOC’s 2017 collection of P457.533 billion was only 2.2% lower than the P467.896 billion target for the year. He added that the P20 billion revenue deficit when he assumed office on August 30 last year was reduced to only P10 billion at yearend.

BOC had also hit all-time highs last year, earning P44.450 billion in December and exceeding the P40.673 billon target. In November, BOC also collected an all-time-high collection of P46.366 billion, 11.3% higher than the P41.66 billion target and P9 billion higher than the average monthly collection of P35 billion.

BOC likewise surpassed its monthly targets in the following months: January—collected P35.943 billion, 1% higher than the P35.5 billion target; March—collected P37.33 billion, 2% higher than the P36.5 billion target; May—collected P39.59 billion, 4% higher than the P38.23 billion target; and October—collected P42.915 billion, 1% higher than the P42.69 billion target.

Lapeña had repeatedly said he was optimistic that BOC would hit this year’s revenue target, as long as its officials and personnel “do things right” by stopping benchmarking and collecting the correct valuation of goods.

Aside from hitting the target, Lapeña said another priority for this year is BOC’s full automation as part of its trade facilitation efforts.

“We are working closely with the World Bank for a comprehensive customs modernization plan,” he said, referring to the US$200 million Philippines Customs and Trade Facilitation Project (PCTFP) that the Washington-based lender is preparing.

The customs chief said BOC recently concluded a workshop with World Bank, which is the start of “a series of stages” leading to the approval of a customs modernization project for the country being prepared by the lending institution.

The project, which is still up for the approval of the World Bank Board and the Philippine government, aims to support export-led economic growth by assisting BOC to reduce trade costs, improve transparency, and increase revenue collection.

The project involves modernizing and automating BOC, and creating a Customs academy.

BOC is also forming a dedicated unit to address smuggling in the country.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III last year directed Lapeña to spearhead the creation of interagency task forces at the regional level to unify and beef up anti-smuggling operations in the provinces.

Lapeña, in response, has instructed BOC district collectors to coordinate with counterpart regional directors in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in creating anti-smuggling units.

Dominguez in an earlier statement said the cooperation between sister agencies BOC and BIR and with other relevant government agencies should be brought down to the regional level to ensure that provincial operations against suspected illicit trading practices are well coordinated.

Dominguez wants the two revenue generators to strengthen their regional cooperation against smuggling, noting that most of the illicitly traded goods entering the country are sold outside Metro Manila.

Aside from increasing revenue collection, enhancing anti-smuggling efforts, and ensuring trade facilitation, other priorities under Lapeña’s five-point priority program are stopping corruption and enhancing personnel incentives, rewards system and compensation.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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