Customs collection drops 6% in March but exceeds target

Members of the Bureau of Customs-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (BOC-CIIS) inspect boxes of disposable e-cigarettes/vape products believed to be illegally smuggled into the country during a raid at a warehouse in Parañaque City, March 1, 2024. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) reported a 6% annual drop in collection in March, although it still surpassed the monthly target.

Based on preliminary data, the agency collected P75.429 billion in March, 6.1% lower than the P80.343 billion recorded in the same month a year ago. However, it exceeded its P72.91-billion target by 3.45%.

For the first quarter, Customs collection rose by 2.6% to P219.385 billion from the P213.829-billion collection in the same period a year ago. This surpassed the P210.896-billion target for the first quarter by 4%.

The agency attributed its performance to the “higher rate of assessment or enhanced system for determining the customs value of imported goods.”

“Additionally, the BoC boosted its revenue collection through its strict monitoring and collection of deferred payment of government importation,” it added.

It also cited intensified post-clearance audits and strengthened border protection.

This month, Customs partnered with the Land Bank of the Philippines to streamline digital payment transactions to help the agency improve collection efforts.

“By intercepting various smuggled goods through multiple seizure operations in March, the agency effectively prevented revenue loss due to illicit activities,” the BoC added.

In 2023, Customs revenues rose by 2.41% year on year to P883.2 billion and surpassed by 1.04% its P874.2-billion full-year target.

This year, the agency is aiming to collect P959 billion. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson