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Smuggling can be addressed through a program to modernize customs.

On Monday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee will perform an eye examination and visual tour of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at Manila’s Port Area.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the committee, stated in a news release on Sunday that they will evaluate the BOC’s modernization program, which entails integrating the ports of Manila, Cebu, and Davao with the Customs Operations Center in Port Area, alongside the officers and members of the Senate Tax Study and Research Office.

Gatchalian stated, “We noted that the smuggling of goods persists and we want to address this problem, especially during this Christmas season because there are many shoppers. Napansin natin na patuloy pa din ang pagpasok ng mga smuggled goods at kailangang matugunan ang problemang ito.”

100,000 kilos of white onions that were mislabeled as bread and pastries and discounted were seized by the government last week.

Additionally lately, BOC officials stopped frozen items worth more than PHP63 million coming from China and Hong Kong.

By 2024, the BOC modernization program wants to transform from a heavily manual and paper-based organization into a modern organization that complies with international standards.

If smuggling is successfully combated, the performance of the BOC’s revenue collection would increase. If revenue-collecting agencies are successful in reaching their goal, greater financial allocations for funding government initiatives may be accomplished, according to Gatchalian.

The BOC reported total revenue collections of PHP645.77 billion in 2021, a 20% increase from PHP537.69 billion the year before.

According to data from the Department of Finance, the BOC set a revenue collection target of PHP671.66 billion for 2022 and has so far received PHP320.5 billion.

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