THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) said on Tuesday that it collected P764 billion in 2023 as of Nov. 10, keeping it on track to exceed its targets.

“We attribute this achievement to increased trade activity, enhanced customs operations, and our reinforced efforts to improve lawful revenue collection,” BoC Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio said at a European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines event.

According to Mr. Rubio, the year-to-date collections were running ahead of target by about 2.7%.

This year, the BoC is tasked to collect P874.166 billion, after generating P862.93 billion in 2022.

“Likewise, the BoC remains firm in its pursuit to protect the borders of our country from illicit trade in goods,” said Mr. Rubio.

“In fact, our anti-smuggling campaign has resulted in the seizure of P41.9 billion worth of illicit goods from January to November 10,” he added.

Mr. Rubio said that the bulk of the seized illicit goods are counterfeit apparel, shoes, and bags. He added that the other seizures were shipments of agricultural products, tobacco, fuel and oil.

He added that the value of the seized goods for the period is going to smash previous records.

“To my recollection, the highest (valuation of seized goods was) about P28 billion, and that was three or four years ago. Right now, we still have about two months,” he said.

“The volume of imports actually fell, so I can only attribute (the increase) to the vigilance of the BoC in curtailing smuggling,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile