THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) collected P303.132 billion in the seven months to July, down 16.3% year on year because of the disruptions to trade caused by the pandemic and lockdown.

The BoC reported that it missed its P314.3-billion target by 3.6%.

In July, the bureau collected P50.072 billion, exceeding its P47.674 billion goal, after collecting P42.54 billion in June, beating the target by more than 4%. Collections were below target in April and May, the height of the lockdown.

Vincent Philip C. Maronilla, assistant commissioner heading the Post Clearance Audit Group and the BoC’s spokesman, said in a Viber message that the “shortfalls” were due to the lack of trade activity during the quarantine months.

In July, the BoC said 10 out of seventeen collection districts hit their targets: the ports of Aparri, Tacloban, Limay, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Clark, Cebu, Batangas, and Subic.

“The BoC’s positive revenue collection performance (in July) is attributed to the improved valuation and volume of importation, coupled with the intensified collective effort of all ports,” the bureau said in a statement Wednesday.

Metro Manila and other key cities were under strict lockdown between the second half of March and May in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The capital region moved to a more relaxed form of lockdown in June and July.

The BoC has a collection target of P542 billion this year, which was trimmed from the original pre-pandemic goal of P730 billion. — Beatrice M. Laforga