New Customs chief vows to hit collection target

Newly-appointed Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio vowed to hit the collection target of the government’s second largest tax agency, simplify and secure trade facilitation, as well as curb smuggling.

Following Malacañang announcement of Rubio’s appointment, the new Customs commissioner unveiled his priority programs for the Bureau of the Customs, whose collections account for about a fifth of government's annual income.

“These priorities are: (1) hit and surpass the revenue target, (2) simplify and secure the facilitation of trade, (3) curb smuggling of any form, and (4) uplift the morale of the men and women of the Bureau of Customs” Rubio said in a statement.

In 2023, the Customs bureau is tasked to generate P901.3 billion. This includes P570.3 billion in value-added taxes from imports, P207.4 billion worth of excise taxes, P105.1 billion in import duties and P18.5 billion from other fees.

Meanwhile, Rubio committed to continue the success of his predecessors and introduce programs that will reinforce the efforts of the agency in the performance of its mandates.

In line with the President Marcos’ priority programs, Rubio said that he will review and revise Customs Processes by digitalizing all its processes for a transparent and efficient government.

He also plans to enhance the competencies and integrity of personnel to ensure the delivery of quality public service as well as adopt a data-driven culture to ensure that the data gathered are utilized in the decision making for every level of the organization.

Rubio added that he intends to link the actions of the Customs bureau to the feedbacks and evaluation from its partners and stakeholders.

“I believe in promoting good governance by strengthening the Bureau of Customs first, through active collaboration with its partner-agencies and stakeholders. Essentially, stakeholders will always be considered and included in the process of improving customs services and procedures,” Rubio explained.

“I am also confident that 90 percent of the problems encountered by the customs administration can be solved just by looking at things in an inward perspective,” he added.

Rubio, a native of Batac, Ilocos Norte, rose from the ranks of the Customs with his first assignment as Special Agent 1 in 2001.

He was later promoted as a Special Investigator, then as Intelligence Officer I, and was later designated as the Officer in Charge of the Intelligence Division for the Manila International Container Port and the Port of Manila until 2013.

Rubio said he will utilize his extensive background in intelligence and investigative work in buttressing the resolve of the Bureau to protect the country’s borders from all forms of smuggling, especially those involving agricultural products and dangerous drugs.

“Over and above, I aspire to foster a healthier trade environment which will contribute to the expansion and economic recovery of the country by equipping the Bureau of Customs with better and modernized mechanisms for trade facilitation, and a more improved collection efficiency through the introduction of these sustainable reforms,” he added.

Commissioner Rubio attended the Hilario Valdez Memorial Elementary School for his primary education and the Immaculate Conception Academy for his secondary education, graduating as the class valedictorian.

e later earned his degree in AB Political Science at the Ateneo De Manila University, and in 1999, his Juris Doctor degree at the San Beda College of Law and the San Sebastian College of Law.