THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) said it generated an additional P1.035 billion in revenue in the 10 months to October after finding violations by importers in post-clearance audits.

“The BoC, through the Post Clearance Audit Group, collected P1.035 billion in additional revenue as a result of post-clearance audits conducted on importers suspected to have violated CMTA (the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act),” the bureau said in its year-to-date accomplishment report.

The bureau conducts regular audits each year to verify importer compliance. The process generates penalties from any adverse audit findings.

The BoC also confiscated P9.963 billion worth of smuggled goods during the period, according to the report, posted on the BoC website.

Smuggled cigarettes and other tobacco products made up half of the total confiscated goods with an estimated value of P4.99 billion. This was followed by illegal drugs worth P1.85 billion or 18.6% of the total, and smuggled cash worth P1.2 billion (12%).

Other top imported items brought in illegally include fake goods valued at P521 million, cars and accessories worth P355 million, general merchandise P310 million, agricultural goods P208 million, food P200 million, and personal protective equipment, medical supplies and cosmetics P196 million.

“The BoC has remained consistent and compliant to its mandate to carry out operational and preventive measures against illicit trade, ensuring secure borders and efficient services,” the BoC said.

The bureau filed 94 cases before the Department of Justice (DoJ) against 205 respondents and cancelled accreditations of 508 importers and 116 Customs brokers.

The BoC investigated 135 Customs personnel and charged 45 of them with administrative cases; seven with criminal charges before the DoJ; 157 cases before the Office of the Ombudsman; and 50 cases before the National Bureau of Investigation.

It dismissed 20 officers and dismissed another four.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has asked the DoJ to form a task group that will investigate alleged corruption in the “entire government” through 2022.

The BoC is among the top five agencies identified by the DoJ as prioritized for investigation, along with Philippine Health Insurance Corp., the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Land Registration Authority, and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The bureau collected P50.9 billion in October, exceeding its downward-revised collection target by 5.2%.

In the year to date, it collected P448.95 billion, which was 6.75% above target but 14.9% lower than the year-earlier level.

The BoC’s collection target for the year was reduced to P506.15 billion as the economic slowdown and lockdowns here and abroad impact global trade and the government’s tax take. — Beatrice M. Laforga