News Release

PBBM: Digitalization of gov’t processes, transactions to help curb smuggling

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. Is pushing for the digitalization of government transactions, particularly at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), to curb rampant smuggling, as he noted that more modernized data and transaction handling could aid the nation’s economic development.

In an interview, President Marcos said the country has to solve the issue of unabated smuggling in the country, in which almost all kinds of commodities are being shipped to the country illegally.

It might be helpful to look into successful approaches being employed by several countries, the President said, and apply them to the Philippines.

The President earlier said the digitalization of the BOC is “going to be an important, important part of that.”

The President also called for drastic bureaucratic reforms to fight smuggling, which he said threatens local industries and affects government tax collection.

One of the recommendations earlier raised was opening up the database to the BOC and to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure the efficient sharing of information.

The DA and BOC have a data-sharing agreement (DSA) that seeks to facilitate the exchange of information on traded agricultural products.

The DSA, which is governed by the Philippines’ Data Privacy Act, is one of the pacts forged between the DA and BOC to ensure that local agri-fishery products remain competitive.

Through the program, each agency can promptly share and act upon critical and intelligence information.

In various international fora, the President highlighted the importance of digitalization, particularly as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and as the administration pushes its development agenda.

The government, Marcos said, also recognizes the importance of digitalization as a key driver for long-term development and for the economic transformation of the post-pandemic global economy.

Although structural changes in the bureaucracy is quite painful, they have to be carried out, and digitalization is going to play a large part in that process, President Marcos said in a recent dialog at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

The President has also put a premium on the role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the administration’s digitalization efforts.

The administration, Marcos said, is on track to empower and enable MSMEs to participate in the digital economy and narrow the digital divide. #