Press Release
August 11, 2017

Nation dependent on P1.3 B BOC daily collections
Palace must fix Customs mess or gov't programs suffer

The Bureau of Customs collects revenues which fund public services that we all enjoy.

When it fails in its collection, government programs falter(s). When taxes it is supposed to collect are stolen, it is the people who will feel the pain.

For 2017, BOC is tasked to collect P468 billion. On a daily basis, that would be P1.28 billion. This is the money these "fiscal stevedores" in Aduana and in airports and seaports must haul into the government coffers every 24 hours.

BOC's revenue goal represents a fifth of the total tax revenue target for 2017. Or 20 centavos for every tax peso.

Thus it can be said 20 percent of the total length of roads built, 20 percent of classrooms constructed, 20 percent of medicine bought, 20 percent of textbooks distributed this year will be financed by BOC collections.

In real terms, BOC will bankroll 9,498 classrooms out of the 47,492 that will be built. From its collections would come the money to buy 11.2 million textbooks out of the 55.8 million pieces to be procured.

It can also be computed that for every 100 peso put into the pay envelope of a government worker, 20 pesos had been remitted by the BOC.

In terms of PhilHealth insurance for indigents, seniors, it can be extrapolated that BOC's share in funding would enroll 8.76 million individuals.

In the war against terrorists, 1 in 5 bullets fired, 1 in 5 air sorties flown will be funded by BOC collections.

Thus, BOC performance, or nonperformance, is critical to both government operations and dreams. Taxes are what translate election rhetoric into reality.

If government were a vehicle, BOC's job is to fill one-fifth of the fuel tank. If it fails to deliver, if it misses its quota, the vehicle will not reach its destination, or is forced to unload passengers, or will sputter along the way.

Thus the problems being encountered by the BOC, the many scandals it is grappling with must be resolved without delay as a matter of national urgency.

The government will not be able to deliver on its promises to the people if its second biggest supplier of funds is broken, malfunctioning and damaged.

A revamp is in order. With the resignation of most members of the current management, a new team(,) must be appointed immediately.

These must be competent and ethical people, knowledgeable of the intricacies and culture of Customs operators because the country cannot afford OJTs on training wheels being appointed to such a crucial job.

The Secretary of Finance, as the immediate boss of the Customs top brass, must have the major say in these designations.

The President must also start holding revenue command conferences where every port collector, every section head in major ports, will report on their accomplishments and pledge their targets.

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