BOC posts lower collections amid COVID-19
According to the BOC, the bureau’s collections from Jan. 1 to May 14 dropped by 9.5 percent to P194.45 billion from P214.84 billion in the same period last year. Photo
BOC posts lower collections amid COVID-19
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Taxes and duties collected by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) declined in the first four and a half months amid a slowdown in economic activity due to the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic.  

According to the BOC, the bureau’s collections from Jan. 1 to May 14 dropped by 9.5 percent to P194.45 billion from P214.84 billion in the same period last year.

The figure was also 17.4 percent lower than the BOC’s P235.29 billion target for the period. 

Based on the BOC data, the drop in collections started in March, when the government started to put Luzon under enhanced community quarantine. That month, the BOC’s collections shrank by nearly 10 percent to P44.8 billion from P49.3 billion a year ago. 

This contraction continued in April, when customs revenues dropped by 32.6 percent year-on-year. From May 1 to 14, collections plunged by 33.62 percent from a year ago.  

Earlier, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said customs revenues were pulled down as the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of movement restrictions in different parts of the country caused an economic slowdown. 

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez had said the effects of the pandemic was felt as early as February, when the BOC reported a decline in the country’s trade volume with China.  

Meanwhile, the BOC said in the same report that the bureau, in coordination with other government authorities, continued to implement strict border protection measures against illegal traders even during the community quarantine period.  

The BOC said it conducted a total of 31 operations, in which they confiscated P3.63 billion worth of illicit goods.  

The bulk or P3.44 billion of the amount came in the form of illicit cigarettes.  

The bureau also seized P70.02 million worth of unregistered Chinese medicines and P44 million worth of smuggled personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other medical supplies. 

It also apprehended P57.57 million worth of electronic devices, P23.23 million worth of illegal drugs, and P400,000 worth of currencies.  

During the period, the BOC said 117 customs brokers and importers had their accreditation revoked. 

From January to March 13, 19 smuggling cases were filed with the Department of Justice, while 21 administrative cases were served with the Professional Regulation Commission. 

Meanwhile, the BOC also reported that it expedited the release of PPEs and other medical emergency supplies during the health crisis, with 11,566 shipments processed. 

Yard utilization rate has also gone down to 70.57 percent in the Port of Manila and 55.97 percent at the Manila International Container Port. 

The BOC said it has transferred 5,651 containers and released 11,274 reefer containers from March 9 to May 14. A total of 530 overstaying containers have also been disposed through donation, condemnation or public auction from March 17 to May 15.

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