An opposition lawmaker on Monday demanded that the Bureau of Customs fire some of its officials for its failure to meet revenue targets in 2014.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano, also sought a congressional review of Republic Act 9335 or the Lateral Attrition Law, saying that the inability and inefficiency of the BoC under Commissioner John Sevilla to meet its target collections in 2014 was a serious matter.
“It is really disappointing that despite RA 9335 being in place, Bureau of Customs officials are sleeping on their job. Legislators should not allow important pieces of legislation like the Lateral Attrition Law, to be halfheartedly, or worse, miserably implemented,” Albano, a member for the Minority Bloc of the House committee on ways and means, said.
The Lateral Attrition Law outlines a “reward and punishment” scheme for government revenue agencies.
“It’s about time that a legislative review of revenue generating measures is conducted to determine if there is anything wrong with the law that prevents BoC collectors from meeting their committed annual revenue targets,” Albano said.
“Otherwise, if the problem is in the implementation of the law, then heads should roll at the BoC for incompetence and inefficiency,” Albano said in pushing for the congressional review.
Albano said Congress has to be informed whether the revenue generating laws it enacted were adequate and sufficient or whether the government officials who are responsible for the enforcement of such laws have been doing their job well.
Albano pointed out that revenue generation and budgetary laws enacted by Congress have to be implemented well because any shortfall in government revenues such as customs collections results in deficits that could adversely affect the national economy and the delivery of vital government services and projects to the people.
Citing a BOC collection report for 2014 published in a major daily, Albano said the BoC’s total revenue collection was P366.87 billion in 2014 – resulting in a shortfall of P41.13 Billion, which was way off its full-year target of P408 billion.
The BoC is the second largest revenue-generating agency next to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Albano said.
Based on the collection report, Albano said all BoC’s collection districts in Metro Manila failed to meet their full-year revenue targets in 2014 with the Port of Manila, under district collector Mario Mendoza, posting the biggest deficit of P25.32 billion.
Citing the collection report data, he said, POM collected P60.11 billion or a disparity of 29.6 percent as against its revenue goal of P85.43 billion for the entire year.
Similarly, Albano said the Manila International Container Port (MICP), where most of the bulk shipments come in, suffered a shortfall of P17.93 billion. The port only collected P97.86 billion versus its revenue target of P115.79 billion last year.
The records also showed that “the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) aggravated BOC’s appalling overall deficit in 2014 , with a shortfall of P6.99 billion,” Albano said.
The NAIA was supposed to have a revenue goal of “R35.64 billion, but it only generated P28.65 billion,” Albano said.
The Metro Manila ports are traditionally the cash cows of the BOC, which account for more than half of the country’s shipments, he said.
Based on the report, Albano said the combined collections of the other 14 smaller and medium-sized ports were insufficient to offset the shortfalls incurred by these major ports.
Given these data, Albano stressed that no one from the BoC, including the higher ups, should be exempted from the provisions of the law that rewards revenue officials for exceeding collection targets and penalizes non-performing ones.
Under the Lateral Attrition law, BOC officials may be fired for repeated failure to meet the agency’s collection goal, Albano said.
Albano pointed out that “RA 9335 has to be fully implemented, no ifs, ands or buts. If the collector fails to meet the target, he and his superior should be penalized under the attrition law.”
Albano said “ BOC collectors who continuously miss their revenue targets, should be sacked for incompetence and ineptitude.”
Meanwhile, the BoC seized agricultural products from China and Vietnam worth some P140 million worth which arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT).