CUSTOMS Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said he is aiming to raise the Bureau Customs’ annual take by P150 billion after an overhaul of the agency, including the hiring of new personnel and raising salaries.
Faeldon said a substantially higher customs revenue collection would be possible with system improvements and better delivery of services.
Such improvements are being simultaneously pursued in the structural, organizational and capability overhaul of the bureau, to turn it into an efficient and world-class organization, he said.
“Upon completion, it will improve our revenue collection [by]at least P150 billion annually,” he said.
Customs collections totaled P361.5 billion in January to November 2016, still well below the target P409 billion.
The bureau’s 2017 collection target is P468 billion.
Faeldon said he was eyeing the bureau’s exemption from the Salary Standardization Law, to allow it to offer more competitive compensation packages and other financial benefits to employees.
“For this year, we are looking at reorganizing and restructuring the whole bureau. Hiring and promotion have been made top priorities, as we have yet to fill up 3,230 vacant positions or 52% of our total workforce. We are aiming to finally promote 1,426 personnel, some of which are those who haven’t been promoted for the past 30 years,” he added.
Faeldon bared plans to construct new ports and renovate of port facilities. “New customs ports will be constructed in Palawan and Legazpi, which will both commence this year. These ports shall serve as the design prototype for all future ports in the country,” he added.
Also to be constructed this year is a state-of-the-art regional district office building in Cebu.
“Lastly, we’ve conceptualized a schematic master plan for the proposed Port of Manila Maritime Trading District, which we hope to start by 2018. Upon completion, it will be world-class maritime trading district that would provide a highly modernized customs and port operations facilities and a premiere international trade and transshipment hub within the Asia-Pacific Region,” the Customs chief said.
The bureau is also upgrading its equipment, particularly in border security, with the purchase of 20 speedboats to help secure the country’s territorial seas and prevent the entry of contraband.