MANILA- The Commission on Audit (COA) has said the Bureau of Customs (BOC) should exert more effort to achieve its collection target even as it acknowledged that the agency's shortfall has decreased.
In its 2017 audit report on the BOC, the state audit agency noted that the Customs bureau decreased its shortfall to P8.122 billion last year and posted a total collection of P459.774 million, just a little short of its target P467.896 million.
“We compared the collection performance for the three-year period from 2015 to 2017, and noted that despite the increase of target every year, the bureau was able to minimize/decrease the shortfall from P69.685 billion in 2015 to P8.122 billion in 2017,” the COA said.
Government auditors, however, said that the BOC, currently headed by Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, still needs to surpass its collection targets.
The BOC agreed with COA's recommendations, including imposing sanctions against poorly performing officials and employees.
“We recommend and management agreed that the commissioner, port collectors and concerned officers and employees continue to exert more effort and employ new strategies in order to achieve its collection target," the COA said.
It also urged the BOC to "implement strictly Section 2 of Republic Act No. 9335 (Attrition Act of 2005), which prescribes sanctions against BOC officials and employees who were not able to achieve their targets, and reward those who had exceeded their targets."
The COA specifically noted that a total of P6.147 billion in revenues was not realized due to lapses in the implementation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Importation of 469 fire trucks with a total contract cost of P2.577 billion was only declared to be worth P306.967 million, resulting in an undervaluation of P2.270 billion.
Government auditors also noted overstaying forfeited, abandoned or seized goods which are exposed to deterioration and loss of revenues, among them some 982 bags of rice confiscated in Tacloban City and high-end used vehicles forfeited in Subic, Zambales.
“Management commented that said vehicles were already included in the condemnation conducted at the Port of Manila in line with the directive of the President of the Philippines last February 6, 2018," the audit agency said.
"However, no report was submitted to the audit team regarding the status of the condemnation,” the COA said.
The BOC said there would be more responsive policies and guidelines to improve their auction and disposal system, according to the report.