SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian wants to assess the modernization program of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) amid the influx of smuggled products into the country.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairperson is leading December 12, an ocular inspection and walk-through of the modernization program of the agency in Port Area, Manila along with the officers and members of the Senate Tax Study and Research Office (STSRO).
“Napansin natin na patuloy pa din ang pagpasok ng mga smuggled goods at kailangang matugunan ang problemang ito lalo na ngayong magpapasko at dagsa ang mga mamimili,” stressed Gatchalian.
He expressed optimism that the agency’s ongoing modernization program would help arrest incidence of smuggling in the country.
“The BOC’s revenue collection performance would improve if the smuggling of various goods is effectively addressed,” said Gatchalian, adding that higher budgetary allocations to finance the government’s projects can be realized if revenue-collecting agencies are able to meet their target.
Just recently, BOC agents have intercepted more than P63 million worth of frozen goods from Hong Kong and China. Last week, the government confiscated a cargo of 100,000 kilos of white onions which were undervalued and misdeclared as bread and pastries.
The BOC has set a revenue collection target of P671.66 billion for 2022. It collected P320.5 billion at the end of May this year, based on the Department of Finance (DOF) data.
A major component of the agency’s modernization program focuses on transitioning from a largely manual and paper-based organization to a modernized customs agency, achieving global standards and full modernization by 2024.
The modernization program also involves the integration of the Ports of Manila, Cebu, and Davao and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) to the Customs Operations Center located in the bureau’s head office in Port Area, Manila. In 2021, the BOC posted a total revenue collection of P645.77 billion, a 20% rise from a total collection of P537.69 billion in the previous year.