The Bureau of Customs failed to hit its P661-billion revenue goals in 2019 but said that the P630.47 billion it collected last year was more than P37 billion compared to the total collection it made in 2018.
A preliminary report from the bureau’s Financial Service office also stated that only nine of the 17 collection districts were able to meet their targets in 2019 and all of them are small ports.
The report dated Feb. 11, 2020 showed that the ports with positive collection performance last year were Limay (P56.332 billion), Cagayan de Oro (P34.540-billion); Subic (P32.373 billion); San Fernando (P4.237 billion); Iloilo (P3.406 billion); Tacloban (P1.425 billion); Zamboanga (P545 million); Legaspi (P510.26 million), and Aparri (P146.72 million).
Although it fell short of the 2019 target, the major collection districts—Manila International Container Port, Port of Batangas and Port of Manila—got the highest revenues with P164.404 billion, P152.222 billion and P74.812 billion, respectively.
The collection district of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, meanwhile, posted P43.238 billion while P31.274 billion was collected by the Port of Cebu and Port of Davao got P27.986 billion.
Port of Clark, on the other hand, collected P1.940 billion while Port of Surigao got P19.43 million.
Customs officials claimed the agency’s effort to institute systems innovation, such as the Goods Declaration Verification System and the National Value Verification System helped the bureau sustain its collection in 2019.
Despite its failure to hit the 2019 target, the agency was lauded by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez during its 118th anniversary celebration recently for its “improved revenue collection” required to make critical investments in quality infrastructure, and healthcare and education programs of the government.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero thanked the men and women of the bureau, as well as its partner agencies, for their continued support and cooperation which allowed the agency to achieve its targets and initiate programs geared towards improving efficiency and optimizing operations for better trade and collections.
The Customs chief earlier announced the revival of the agency’s 10-Point Priority Program he initiated last year to improve the collection performance.
The program consists of the continuation of the filling up of plantilla positions, full automation of frontline transactions, improvement of the risk management system, implementation of Customs modernization program, attainment of ISO certification and PGS compliance, enhancement of trade facilitation, rationalization of penalty regimes, enhancement of management and technical skills, enhancement of stakeholder’s engagement and intensification of border protection.
To strengthen border security, the agency also launched the Basic Course on Cargo Security Management for the 210 newly hired Customs guards.
The course, through the collaborative efforts of the Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) and Interim Training and Development Division (ITDD), is comprised of lectures on cargo handling and security to provide trainees the basic knowledge and physical training to improve competence in actual exercise of their duties and responsibilities.
The 27-day training program also aims to enhance management and technical skills of newly hired Customs guards.