Friday, May 31, 2024

Ping asks BOC: ‘Why are you not interested to automate?’

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who is running for president as an independent candidate, grilled an official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) during the continuation of the Committee of the Whole (COW) hybrid inquiry by the Senate on Monday, March 28.

Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (foreground) and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
Photo from Senate

Lacson recalled that in 2018, he offered to help BOC to look for additional sources of funds to augment its budget in order for the agency to fully automate all its transactions. However, Lacson said, officials then seem to be not interested.

“Why are you not interested to automate? I offered my help to augment the BOC funds to fully automate and this was in 2018, but I did not get a positive reaction from BOC,” Lacson said.

BOC assistant commissioner Vincent Maronilla told the committee that the bureau has ventured into a number of modernization projects independently and would provide the Senate with the list of their modernization efforts.

Lacson’s running mate, Senate president Vicente C. Sotto III, also asked the BOC during the hearing for an update on the digitization program of the bureau which, he said, would have been an effective deterrent against smuggling of vegetables in the country.

Responding to Sotto’s question, Maronilla said they have already automated some of its processes but the major automation project that the bureau is undertaking is the Philippine Customs Modernization project, which is funded by the World Bank.

Maronilla added that the digitization project is still in the initial stages and that the agency has yet to start the procurement process for the system, which intends to replace the bureau’s current system.


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