The Department of Finance said the Bureau of Customs (BOC) performed “extremely well” last year as it raised “better-than-expected revenues, ensuring the free flow of goods and redoubling its campaign against smuggling even with logistical restrictions and other difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III noted that the agency under Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Dominguez was able to “minimize its losses and even surpass its adjusted collection target last year despite the drastic decline in trade volumes and the economic slowdown, by pursuing its modernization initiatives to achieve a more efficient customs administration.”
“Along with the fuel marking program, the slew of innovative reforms instituted by the BOC allowed it to collect P539.763 billion in 2020, or 6.0 percent over its target of P506.2 billion,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said that to prepare the country’s rapid transition to the New Economy, the BOC should “continue improving the BOC’s services and incorporating additional digital technologies in its processes.”
“The more efficient the BOC becomes, the more effective the government will be in charting the course to a strong and rapid recovery beginning this year,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez noted the BOC’s campaign against smuggling, which resulted to last year’s seizure of an estimated P10.62 billion-worth of “hot” goods, of which over half were illicit cigarettes and tobacco products.
“This sends a clear message that this administration will fight smuggling to the very end,” Dominguez said.
Also among the confiscated items were laptops and smartphones that the BOC recently turned over to the Department of Education (DepEd) to support its blended or distance learning program.
Dominguez said the COVID-19 crisis disrupted the Philippines’ growth momentum and exacted a massive toll on the economy, but the BOC, along with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, stepped up to the challenge of raising substantial revenues to help fund the government’s pandemic response measures and economic recovery program.