Customs launches 6 computer systems to cut red tape, graft

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) launched on Monday six computer information programs in line with its modernization efforts, a move that is also seen to enhance the ease of doing business with the bureau and all ports nationwide.

During the BOC’s “Improved BOC: Seamless and Simplified” event on Monday at the Rizal Park Hotel, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero said the modernization of its computer systems, which aims to eliminate or lessen human interaction in line with BOC processes, is also meant to cut the avenues for corruption.

“[It’s impact on our anti-corruption drive is] really huge. You have to remember these are just systems developed in-house; this was done because we know that the modernization program takes time and resources to implement, but in the meantime we cannot just say that we will put it on hold. So we have to initiate at our level and with the available resources we have, we came up with this in-house system to improve performance,” Guerrero said.

The BOC launched these programs:

  • Customer Care Program to provide quick answers to inquiries submitted by stakeholders;
  • Document Tracking System to efficiently track documents being processed in the different offices of the bureau;
  • Goods Declaration and Verification System which is a queuing management system that enables the real-time tracking of goods by its stakeholders;
  • National Value Verification System which serves as a guide for assessment personnel to determine the accuracy of the declared value of goods in shipments, enabling the bureau to collect accurate duties and taxes;
  • Alert Order Monitoring System to track the status of alert orders; and  BOC Dashboard, a one-stop platform showing the real-time updates about the operations in the bureau and all ports nationwide.

“The system aims to improve the ease of doing business in the BOC which is part of the bureau’s 10-point priority program on the enhancement of the BOC information-technology system and cargo clearance process,” the BOC said.

The Customs chief explained that with the systems put in place, customs clearance, for example, can be processed in just around three hours if all documentary requirements are submitted.

“If complete requirements, in our time release study the Customs clearance can be done in three hours, from 1.5 to three hours, if requirements are complete. [And we can process] anywhere from 200 [applications],” Guerrero added.

Guerrero pointed out that the computer information systems upgrade forms only the first part of its plan to completely modernize the bureau with the help of multilateral agencies.

“[This is] in-house; this means we tapped local talents for this program. [The investment] will not reach maybe tens of millions. Later on when we expand, when we adapt a more robust system through the full modernization program, remember we are embarking on a full-scale modernization program and we are closely working with the World Bank and other service providers for us to be able to source and implement it nationwide,” he said.

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