The Bureau of Customs (BOC) missed its target collection of import duties and other taxes in January such that its chief, Isidro S. Lapeña, on Monday said he would fire officials at the five ports that underperformed.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III also told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting between Philippine and Japanese economic officials in Lapu-Lapu City that he was fully supportive of Lapeña’s plan to relieve port officials who collected below their respective goals.
“[According to Lapeña], ‘strike one and you’re out’—that’s the right thing to do. I think that’s a very good move on his part, and I fully support it,” Dominguez said.
In a statement, the BOC said preliminary data from its financial service department showed that the country’s second-biggest revenue agency collected P40.8 billion last January, missing by 12 percent the P46.4-billion goal for the month. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) remains the biggest revenue source of the government.
Last month’s collections nonetheless grew 14 percent from P35.7 billion a year ago.
The growth in the BOC’s collections in January was nearly the same pace as the 17.6-percent jump in imports posted last December.
However, Lapeña remained unimpressed and ordered the removal of underperforming port officials.
“I cannot put at stake another month for another experiment. Let my directive be clear: Relieve the section chiefs and deputy collectors of district collections who did not reach the target,” Lapeña said.
The ports of Batangas and Zamboanga as well as Manila International Container Port, Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Port of Manila missed their collection goals for the month.
Based on BOC data, the following 12 ports exceeded their respective targets in January: Aparri, P5.6 million (39.5-percent higher than target); Cagayan de Oro, P1.62 billion (23.3 percent); Cebu, P2.27 billion (8.6 percent); Clark, P135 million (10.7 percent); Davao, P1.78 billion (19.9 percent); Iloilo, P270 million (7.4 percent); Legazpi, P24 million (9.8 percent); Limay, P2.84 billion (0.6 percent); San Fernando, P256 million (0.7 percent); Subic, P1.68 billion (0.8 percent); Surigao, P4 million (261.9 percent), and Tacloban, P34 million (59.9 percent). —BEN O. DE VERA
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