The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has made great strides in curbing illicit trade and strengthening trade facilitation and border control efforts under the leadership of Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno.
“Curbing illicit trade will not only ensure that we don’t lose much-needed revenues, but more importantly, protect consumers from unregulated products that may potentially cause harm,” said Secretary Diokno.
To protect Philippine borders from smuggled goods, the BOC seized PHP 15.65 billion worth of illegal goods from July to December 2022 through its intensified anti-smuggling operations.
The top-valued commodities seized were illegal drugs (PHP 10.2 billion); counterfeit products (PHP 2.450 billion); agricultural products (PHP 1.884 billion); cigarettes and tobacco (PHP 457.763 million); and used clothing (PHP 287.480 million).
The BOC was also able to enhance trade facilitation through the National Single Window (NSW) system, which allows those engaged in trade and logistics to store data on a single internet-based interface to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.
With the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the BOC convened the NSW Summit 2022 which supported the call of President Marcos, Jr. to streamline BOC processes through information and communications technology (ICT) solutions.
These efforts have resulted in faster processing of import and export documentation and increased trade compliance, transparency, as well as convenience, which addressed inefficiencies in the system.
Apart from these, the BOC was also able to internally cleanse and maintain the integrity of the Bureau. It successfully acted on erring employees and issued 24 show-cause orders.
Based on available data, 175 individuals were either under investigation or have undergone investigation as of the end of December 2022, five of which were charged with administrative cases.
Finally, to maintain the quality of services, 17 offices and ports of the BOC obtained and retained certification for the ISO 9001:2015 QMS.