Duterte successor to ‘inherit’ modernized customs bureau

February 23, 2022, 8:23 pm

<p>Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III</p>

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will turn over to the next administration a more modernized and sophisticated customs bureau that has transformed into a highly efficient agency and automated the majority of its processes on his watch, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Wednesday. 
On the occasion of the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) 120th founding anniversary, Dominguez congratulated the agency under the leadership of Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero for accelerating its digital transformation and performing “exceedingly well” even amid the last two difficult years of the pandemic. 
Dominguez said that even with the constraints imposed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis, the BOC’s revenue collection in 2021 grew by 20 percent compared to 2020, and surpassed its collection target last year by 4 percent. 
Its 2021 collection of PHP645.76 billion based on preliminary data was even higher than its pre-pandemic collection of PHP630.31 billion in 2019, he said. 
“As the agency moves into its 120th year of serving the Filipino people, I am optimistic that the reforms already in place and the dedication of the professionals serving the bureau will ensure that the revenue targets will be more than met,” he added.
Dominguez said the BOC’s outstanding performance in the middle of a public health crisis is the outcome of the digitalization of its processes and other administrative reforms implemented under the Duterte administration to plug leakages, enhance efficiency, and enable the agency to perform better in its mission of facilitating trade. 
“I must say that the BOC has never been as sophisticated, transparent, and modern as before because of these initiatives led by Jagger under the Duterte administration. I commend the proactive leadership of Commissioner Guerrero and his team for continuing to transform the Bureau into a highly efficient agency,” he said.
“I am happy to transition to the next administration a modernized customs administration at par with global standards. This will be one of the lasting legacies of President Duterte,” he added. 
Dominguez said the Philippines’ rising merchandise trade volumes in 2021, which has already exceeded the pre-pandemic level, and total foreign direct investments (FDIs) last year that have surpassed the 2020 level is the result, in large part, of the BOC’s “remarkable accomplishments”. 
He also lauded the BOC for playing a key role in quickly delivering a total of 225 million Covid-19 vaccine doses last year, with each of these shipments cleared within the day and promptly delivered to their assigned warehouse facilities.
Dominguez said the newly established BOC Customs Operations Center, along with the automation of 82 of the bureau’s processes, will enable it to more quickly join the ranks of world-class customs services.  
“The task at hand is to quickly bring this up to a hundred percent this year. With new equipment, including fast patrol boats, body cameras, and mobile x-ray machines, the Bureau should be even more prepared to carry out its mandate,” he said. (PR)