BOC automates 82% of customs processes, improves collection

MANILA – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has automated and streamlined 139 or 82 percent of its 170 processes and procedures under the Duterte administration through its continuing modernization program, which has resulted in above-target collections despite the economic slowdown induced by the pandemic.

In its report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the BOC said that at the height of the pandemic in 2020, it collected PHP537.69 billion, which is 106.2 percent of its PHP506.15 billion goal.

In 2021, the BOC collected PHP643.56 billion, or 104.3 percent of its target of PHP616.75 billion for this period, and higher than its 2019 pre-pandemic collection of PHP630.31 billion, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said.

Guerrero said the BOC’s revenue haul included PHP1.5 billion generated from its post-clearance audit of 342 companies and PHP895.95 million from 176 prior disclosure program (PDP) applications.

He said that among the notable accomplishments of the BOC under its customs modernization program is the integration of the Ports of Manila, Cebu, and Davao and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) to the Customs Operations Center located in the bureau’s head office in Port Area, Manila.

Guerrero also cited the full implementation of the World Customs Organization (WCO) cargo targeting system, which requires foreign carriers (sea vessels and aircraft) or their authorized agents to electronically transmit cargo information in advance using manifest data for profiling, risk assessment, anti-terrorism, law enforcement, and other related purposes.

Dominguez congratulated the entire BOC for a “great job done” on the agency’s modernization efforts.

“Without your leadership, this modernization program would not have gone as far as it has gone, and your collections certainly would not have been as good,” Dominguez told Guerrero.

Guerrero said among the processes automated by the BOC through its information and communications technology (ICT)-backed projects is the submission, processing, and approval of applications of importers and exporters defined as authorized economic operators (AEOs) or those recognized as having complied with WCO or equivalent supply chain security standards.

These processes and procedures are now done electronically through the BOC’s AEO online portal.

Besides the AEO online portal, among the 30 ICT-supported systems implemented in the BOC, are its customs dashboard, customer care portal system, document tracking, parcel and balikbayan boxes tracking system, electronic advance ruling system (e-ARS), electronic certificate of origin (eCO), automated bonds management system (ABMS) and Computerization of Super Green Lane Office.

The BOC also successfully deployed its automated inventory management system for customs bonded warehouses (CBWs) at the Port of Manila to determine and monitor the stock inventory of bonded goods from the time of its entry into the CBW up to the liquidation of the goods declaration covered by the warehousing single administrative document.

Through the establishment of electronic tracking of containerized cargo system (E-TRACC system), the BOC can track, monitor and audit the location and condition of containers, as well as obtain real-time alarms on, among others, diversion and tampering of cargoes.

The BOC’s Customer Care Centers allow the uninterrupted processing of shipments even during the pandemic, thus keeping businesses afloat during the crisis; while the establishment of the Customs Operations Center serves as the headquarters to integrate and analyze intelligence, enforcement and operational information gathered from various sources, Guerrero said.

From 2016 to 2020, the BOC has also procured 200 body-worn cameras, and acquired 20 patrol boats to improve its border protection capabilities, he added.

On its anti-corruption efforts, Guerrero said the BOC under the Duterte administration has either reshuffled or transferred 3,855 employees, served show-cause orders to 1,407 personnel, filed administrative cases against 183, transmitted 164 complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman, relieved 192 employees, and dismissed 24 from the service.

In 2021, it was able to resolve all 642 citizens’ complaints brought before the bureau, Guerrero said. (PR)