Official touts 'huge improvement' in anti-corruption efforts in agency
MANILA - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Saturday said at least P12 billion worth of smuggled items have so far been seized this year, surpassing the total amount collected in 2020.
"First half of 2021, umaabot sa P10 bilyon. In fact, sa latest po na ito... nalampasan na po namin ang figures namin last year," Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Maronilla said in a public briefing.
(Based on our latest statistics, we surpassed the figures we had last year)
According to state media, the BOC was able to seize P10.6 billion last year based on the 997 operations they conducted.
Aside from this, Maronilla said they were able to collect P1 billion in September alone, the highest in its history.
"'Yung aming collection last month, ang surplus sa aming target ay higit P1 bilyon... ito po ay resulta ng mga sistemang ipinatupad ng leadership ng Bureau of Customs... at paghihigpit ng aming mga tauhan na nangongolekta sa iba't ibang mga puwerto," Maronilla explained.
(Our collection last month reached over P1 billion, which is the result of the system implemented by the current BOC leadership and tougher measures in different ports.)
"Kami po ay very much conscious na nangangailangan ang ating pamahalaan ng additional pondo para labanan itong pandemyang ating kinakaharap," he added.
(We are very much conscious about the government's need for additional funds in its COVID-19 response.)
In late September, the bureau destroyed P7.4 billion worth of shredded counterfeit goods which were seized from a Pasay City storage area.
Most of the items, which range from clothes with designer labels to personal care items, were from China, costing the Philippine government an estimated P700 million in lost revenues, said the BOC.
Maronilla also attributed the development to strengthened anti-corruption efforts at the bureau.
The regular data they release to the public would attest to their commitment against corruption, which has been recognized even by the private sector, he said.
"Malaki ang tingin naming improvement sa aspetong 'yan (anti-corruption). In fact, ito po ay makikita niyo sa magandang revenue performance ng BOC at border protection performance," he said.
(We think we have improved a lot in that aspect. In fact, that can be seen in the good revenue performance of BOC)
"'Yung mga numero at datos na aming isasapubliko... ay 'yan ang aming gagamiting batayan para tingnan kung ang mga programa namin... pati sa pag-iimprove ng kalagayan ng integridad ng ating mga tauhan ay gumagana at epektibo."
(The data that we publicize are the basis to gauge our performance. This also includes improving the integrity of our people)
The official said they would continue implementing reforms to improve their service and transparency.