China remains largest source of smuggled goods, mostly counterfeit products – BOC

Published November 22, 2021, 1:40 PM

by Ben Rosario

China remains the largest source of smuggled goods entering the country, with counterfeit products comprising the most number of items illegally entered, the Bureau of Customs disclosed Monday, Nov. 21.

Smuggled products

n a briefing for the House Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Probinsyano Ako Partylist Rep. Jose “Bonito” Singson Jr., Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said China tops the list of sources of smuggled goods that have denied government billions of pesos in unpaid duties.

Responding to Singson’s query, Guerrero said the largest importation of smuggled items consists of counterfeit goods and merchandise.

“Nakita natin na pinakamalaking importation ay counterfeit goods, general merchandise and those involving intellectual property right infringement,” said Guerrero.

He reported that the BOC has seized over P54 billion worth of smuggled goods from 2019 to October 2021.

There is not much smuggling of agricultural products from China, Vietnam, Thailand and other countries because most of these items are covered by trade agreements between the Philippines and the country involve.d Singson said the importation of agricultural products has come up to alarming levels that it has deprived local farmers of their market share.

“Maraming umiiyak sa ating mga farmers. Dapang-dapa ang presyo ng vegetables and other produce nilia. (Many of our farmers weep. The prices of vegetables and other products have dropped) Every importation deprives our farmers their source of livelihood to feed their family, educate their children and live decently,” Singson lamented.

The lawmaker said the BOC can help the farmers by enforcing strictly the procedures and the requirement of documentation covering legal importation.

The briefing was conducted as part of a congressional inquiry into the revenue collections and budget utilization of the BOC prior and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singson filed House Resolution 2135 proposed the investigaiton as he aired fears that the pandemic may have “significantly affected the revenue generating activities of the BOC.

“In view of the seeming inconsistency in the revenue collection performance from previous years despite a notable increase in spending, it is imperative that the Committee on Public Accounts should inquire in aid of legislation into the BOC”s revenue collection efficiency in the utilizatin of the budget allocated to it in relation to the fulfillment of its mandated duties and responsibilities,” said the panel chairman.

Guerrero disclosed that despite the effects of the pandemic the BOC has overshoot its target collection in 2020, with a goal of P506.150 billion to actual collection of P537,687.

From January, 2021 to October, 2021, the BOC has also exceeded the P513.197 billion goal with an actual collection of P525.367 However in 2019, collection target of P661.044 billion was not reached. Only P630.310 billion was collected during the year when the pandemic started.