THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) said it expects to exceed its revenue target this year with collections expected to improve in the runup to the holidays. 

On the sidelines of a forum last week, Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip C. Maronilla told reporters that the BoC is on track to hit its internal projections, which will carry it past its target.

“In fact, our goal is not just to hit that (target). We have an internal goal of trying to hit more than the target. We’re trying to maximize as much as possible the surplus that we want to collect, knowing fully well we’re in the position to contribute more,” he said.

The BoC is tasked to collect P874.166 billion this year.

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) reported that Customs collections totaled P660.4 billion in the first nine months, exceeding the goal for the period by 2.52%.

Mr. Maronilla said that the last quarter’s collections are usually strong due to the holidays.

“The ‘-ber’ months (are when) we usually hit our largest surpluses. Historically, November has been very good to us. We’ve hit very large surpluses in November. We’re looking into October and November to help catch up with our internal goal of reaching a certain surplus,” he added.

Mr. Maronilla also noted that the surplus may be “significant” judging from current trends. “Right now, we’re at about a little over P10 billion in surplus from the target set to us for this year,” he added.

Though the BIR has been on track to hit its targets, BTr data indicate that monthly collections have been tracking lower year on year since June.

Mr. Maronilla noted a slowdown in the volume of imports during the period.

“Oil, not just in terms of volume, but sometimes in terms of value, fluctuated as well. Overall, the data would show there might be lower actual collections compared to last year, but then revenue-efficiency wise, we’re still up there,” he said.

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno has said that declines in the BoC’s monthly results were due partly to the reduction in collection days due to inclement weather.

The BIR loses as much as P3 billion to P4 billion when it misses a day of collection, Mr. Maronilla said.

“When you give us our targets, we compute it per day. If you provide us with three days (of collection) where there’s a holiday or suspension of classes, we might (operate with a skeleton workforce) but the other participants in the release of goods might not be there,” he said.

“We can’t force importers to tell their companies to operate on that particular day. Even if we’re open and some of our stakeholders are not, that really affects our collections,” he added.

Mr. Maronilla said that the agency remains “on track” with its October collection target.

“We have a few more days to go. We’re preparing for some holidays. On Tuesday (Oct. 31) we might get a boost because some might be trying to complete their transactions before the long holidays,” he said.

“As you all know, long holidays translate to no transactions and the longer the holiday is, the cost of their goods being stored in the ports doesn’t lower at all. I hope we get that boost on that day and recover whatever it is we’re going to miss on the previous day,” he added.

Oct. 30 (Monday) was declared a holiday for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson