What it does: The Bureau of Customs (BOC) oversees and supervises the export-import trading activity across principal ports of entry in the Philippines.
Best known for: being the government agency under the Department of Finance
Staff stats: more than 5,000 employees
Financials: Php2.58 billion in the annual budget for 2021
The good bits: Entry-level salaries at the BOC are quite competitive. Fresh grads may earn between Php21,000 and Php25,000 per month.
The not-so-good bits: Insiders said that bureaucratic policies stall career growth opportunities, which may be further unlikely with a steep organizational hierarchy.
The BOC traces its roots as far back as the pre-Spanish colonial era. The government agency has undergone several reorganizations over several centuries. One of the most notable changes happened in 1957 when the defunct Congress enacted RA No. 1937.
Otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, the law allowed the country to have an ‘autonomous Philippine Tariff Policy’.
The BOC’s primary responsibilities focus on oversight and supervision of the export-import trading across principal ports of entry in the Philippines. The agency is also responsible for preventing the entry of smuggled goods.
The BOC teems with interesting projects and career-changing challenges. Most employees enjoy working with their colleagues in what they describe as a productive environment.
The biggest challenge for fresh grads, however, involves the stress that comes with their jobs. Office politics also tend to affect a person’s chances for a promotion.
Still, previous interns and trainees appreciated the collaborative and helpful atmosphere at the BOC. They didn’t find it hard to ask for guidance from senior employees.
In 2019, the BOC discovered almost Php2 million in different bank accounts allegedly kept by a security guard. The agency became suspicious because the employee has earned only Php14,000 per month since 2002.
The BOC donated more than 1,700 books, school bags, and shoes to the Department of Education in 2021. The agency also provided over 5,000 electronic devices for the department’s online learning program.
Fresh grads should obtain pre-employment requirements to avoid being pressed for time, as the BOC has a rather fast hiring process.
It might be difficult to achieve career growth at the BOC because of bureaucratic policies. Despite this drawback, the agency remains a good choice for those who want job security.
Fresh grads can only apply for one position at the BOC every time the agency publishes vacant roles. Candidates must apply through the BOC Online Application Portal. Otherwise, the BOC won’t process their applications.
The typical pre-employment requirements include copies of Civil Service Commission eligibility, transcript of records, and a valid National Bureau of Investigation clearance.
Professionals may submit an authenticated license by the Professional Regulation Commission or certificate of admission by the Supreme Court. Once a candidate accomplishes the requirements, the hiring process may involve three steps:
Previous applicants said that panel interviews could be an alternative for screening candidates. Fresh grads should remember to apply as soon as the BOC advertises vacant roles. There’s usually a three-week deadline for applications.
Depending on the role, the agency may complete the hiring process within a few days. Some insiders claim that it’s easier to land a job at the BOC if applicants know someone from the agency.
The BOC follows the government-mandated salary grade table for compensation employees. The actual salaries may change when there are amendments to the Salary Standardization Law. Entry-level roles at the BOC fall below Grade 10 and Grade 11 salaries.
In 2021, the BOC paid more than Php1.03 billion in salaries for permanent positions. The agency also spent over Php303 million for ‘other compensation common to all’. These expenses include:
Other employment benefits include Employee Compensation Insurance Premiums, loyalty awards for civilian employees, PAG-IBIG and PhilHealth contributions, and terminal leave.
Administrative officers, customs operation officers, and statisticians are some of the entry-level roles at the BOC that don’t require experience.
Roman numerals indicate the designation of most roles (eg administrative officer I). In other words, a higher position will have a corresponding higher Roman numeral.
Fresh grads with a Bachelor of Science in Customs Administration may also pursue a career as a licensed customs broker. They should pass the Customs Brokers Licensure Examination to qualify for the role.
In terms of organizational hierarchy, the BOC has a steep structure. The customs commissioner acts as the bureau head with the assistance of 24 people:
There are more than 45 sub-departments that report to the assistant commissioner and deputy commissioners.