THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) — the second-biggest revenue collector — saw its tax take increase in October amid the peso’s depreciation and higher oil prices, but it narrowly missed its target for that month.

The BoC said in a press release yesterday that it collected P42.006 billion last month, up 4.52% from P40.182 billion recorded in September and 25.9% more than October 2016’s P33.365 billion. The bureau narrowly missed the P42.54-billion target entrusted to it last month.

“Although the month of October was marked with lesser number of working days and volume of imports, growth was still achieved because of increase in the value of imports brought by the higher exchange rate, oil price and improved valuation and classification,” Customs Commissioner Isidro S. Lapeña said in the statement, referring to the peso’s 11-year lows at closing lately.

The preliminary October data would take 10-month collections to P365.806 billion, against a P379.44-billion target for the same period and a P459.639-billion full-year program. The BoC’s 2017 goal accounts for a fifth of P2.258 trillion in total tax revenues the government has targeted for this year.

“Slowly, the reforms we have started are gaining ground,” Mr. Lapeña said.

Since he assumed office on August 30, Mr. Lapeña has ordered strict enforcement of World Trade Organization valuation and goods classification rules — based on price actually paid or payable on imports — amid the prevalence of arbitrary valuation of shipments.

“I believe that if there is difficulty and slow processes, people look for faster service; that’s why there is tara and there will always be corruption,” Mr. Lapeña said, referring to grease money importers pay in order to secure the release of their goods.

“I am ensuring faster service and reduced requirements in doing business with the Bureau.”

Mr. Lapeña has also ordered BoC offices to process trade documents for no more than five days and reassigned key collectors in some of the country’s biggest ports, hinting that a number of them had tried to block reforms in the bureau. — EJCT