THE Bureau of Customs collected P883.62 billion for the year 2023, up 2.46 percent from the previous year’s revenue collection of P862.42 billion as its drive against smuggling also saw it file scores of criminal cases and revoke the accreditation of more than 100 importers, the Department of Finance (DOF) said in its yearender report on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024.
The DOF attributed the bureau’s performance to its intensified revenue collection, drive against smuggling, as well as its digitalization of 161 of 166 customs processes.
The bureau’s performance also surpassed its target of P874.17 billion by 1.08 percent or P9.46 billion.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) did not provide a breakdown of the performance of its 17 collection districts in the country, including the Port of Cebu.
But the BOC Sub-port of Mactan in Cebu announced last week that it had collected P1.66 billion last year, surpassing by 45.53 percent its P1.14 billion collection target.
The Sub-port of Dumaguete is the other sub-port under the Port of Cebu Collection District.
Last November, BOC Port of Cebu District Collector Ricardo Uy Morales II said that a whopping 80 percent of the commodities processed at the Port of Cebu originate from China.
In 2023, the BOC filed 90 criminal cases before the Department of Justice, of which the bulk, or 60 cases, were related to agricultural smuggling, the DOF said.
There were convictions in four cases that involved the “unlawful importation” of agricultural products, cigarettes and general merchandise.
The bureau’s drive against smuggling also led to the confiscation of P42.91 billion worth of smuggled goods and the revocation of the accreditation of 118 importers and 46 customs brokers for violating the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the DOF said.
Since it takes two to tango, the BOC also issued 19 show cause orders to errant employees during this period, and placed 94 personnel under investigation.
The BOC said enhanced international partnerships also drove its good performance for 2023.
Last year, it signed Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as well as the General Administration of Customs of China on the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program.
“The AEO Program is a partnership pursued globally by customs administrations to secure and facilitate trade by providing incentives to traders working jointly with customs administrations to improve supply chain security,” the BOC said when it inked its MRA with China in January 2023.
“Generally, MRA benefits include a higher level of facilitation during cargo clearance, domestic and overseas, priority treatment if the cargo has been selected for inspection, and expedited customs cargo clearance in the event of trade disruption. AEO companies would thus enjoy cost savings due to better predictability of cargo movement,” the BOC said.
The BOC signed the AEO Mutual Recognition Arrangement with the Asean in September, and with Hong Kong in November.
It also signed agreements last year with local government agencies, such as the Philippine Postal Corp. to improve the speed, security and quality of customs clearances; the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to prevent the smuggling of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals; and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to share data to improve trade and economic zone efficiency.