THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS (BoC) again exceeded its collection goal in October due to improved valuation and higher import volume, beating for the fifth straight month its goal that had been slashed several times on a grim economic outlook.

The agency collected P50.9 billion last month, beating its collection goal of P48.4 billion by 5.2%, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“BoC’s positive revenue collection performance is attributed to the improved valuation and intensified collection efforts of all the ports,” it said.

The bureau also cited improved import volume and state efforts to ensure unhampered movement of goods domestically and internationally during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month’s revenue was still 11.7% lower than P57.652 billion collected in October last year.

Customs said seven out of the 17 collection districts beat their targets for the month. These were the collection offices in Batangas, Manila, Zamboanga, Subic, Clark, Limay and Cebu.

It has collected P448.95 billion this year, 14.9% lower than a year earlier and accounting for 88.7% of its full-year target.

BoC’s collection target for the year was trimmed several times to P506.15 billion as the economic slowdown and lockdowns are expected to dampen government’s tax take.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the country’s biggest tax-collecting agency, had yet to release its October collection data.

The two agencies earlier exceeded their combined nine-month target by 8.2% after collecting P1.82 trillion.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on Monday reiterated that the government would not introduce new taxes despite the widening budget gap, which is expected to hit 9.6% of economic output this year.

He also said they were not considering to sell state assets to generate more income.

The budget deficit almost tripled to P879.2 billion in the nine months to September from a year earlier as tax collections fell, while spending continued to rise amid the pandemic.

Philippine economic managers expect the economy to shrink by as much as 6.6% this year. — Beatrice M. Laforga