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BOC records P8-B revenue surplus in Q1 2024

MANILA: The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has exceeded its revenue collection target for the first three months of the year.

‘We collected PHP219.385 billion in total revenue – that’s a surplus of PHP8.489 billion from our target for that particular period. So, there’s a surplus of about… more than PHP8 billion by the Bureau of Customs for the first quarter of 2024,’ BOC Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said at the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

‘Part of these were voluntary payments by companies through our prior disclosure program amounting to about PHP1.88 billion – highest in the history of the Bureau of Customs per quarter; and also, there were audit findings amounting to about PHP89 million. We also collected about PHP3.8 million in revenue for public auctions conducted by the bureau,’ Maronilla added.

Smuggled goods

He also reported that about PHP48 billion worth of smuggled items were seized in 2023.

Among the most common goods that are being smuggled into the country are cigarettes
, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) goods, as well as local brands, agricultural products, and medicines.

‘And of course, agri-products. Cigarette has jumped from the years before to really now become one of the most smuggled items. Every time I think that whenever an item increases in terms of tax rate or tax treatment, iyon ho ang nagiging (that product becomes) the most smuggled item,’ he added.

From January to March this year, Maronilla said, the BOC confiscated PHP11.8 billion worth of goods.

‘So, we’re still on track on having one of the largest hauls in recent years of smuggled products,’ he said.

Digitalization

Meanwhile, Maronilla noted that the digitalization process in the bureau is 96.99 percent complete.

‘For the first quarter of 2024, we’re at 96.99 percent digitalized. That means that 161 out of the 166 processes of the Bureau of Customs are now digitalized,’ he said.

‘Now, the few that are yet to be digitalized are those processes that need inter-linkages with other government agencies
. So, majority of them, we’re still waiting for the other agencies to upgrade their respective digital systems so that the BOC can integrate.’

Maronilla noted that the digitalization project was mainly created to minimize face-to-face transactions to eliminate corruption.

‘In digitalization, first and foremost, ang ina-address namin doon (what we are addressing) is the face-to-face transaction. Ang na-establish kasi namin dati (We have established that) a big portion of the…well, at least the opportunity to have transactions that tend to corrupt both parties come from the fact that our stakeholders are able to do transactions face-to-face with our employees – so, ni-remove namin iyon (we removed that),’ he said.

Security breach

An investigation is also being conducted by the Department of Information and Communications and Technology (DICT) and the National Privacy Commission regarding the BOC system that was compromised two weeks ago.

‘So, there was a breach in our Customs system – not all but I think a
significant portion of some of our applications. The DICT, the unit under the DICT in charge of identifying the breach that was conducted, is now looking into it. An investigation has already been launched by the Privacy Commission also and the Bureau of Customs, to determine the lapses that were encountered, why this came about,’ he said.

‘Security measures were also already implemented to avoid further breaches and further abuse of any information that is contained in the Customs system.’

The BOC is gradually resetting all access of employees to the system, he said.

Among the systems that have been comprised were the auction and disposal system, pre-payment, internal system, and customer care portal system.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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