THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) yesterday (Jan 26) assured port stakeholders there will be minimal delays in the filing and clearing of cargoes after a fire razed Customs offices at the Port of Manila (POM) late Monday night (Jan 25).
Customs deputy commissioner Alexander Arevalo told PortCalls the fire has had virtually no effect on the BOC’s electronic-to-mobile (e2m) system, even if, as of press time, there was still no electricity at the POM and acrid burnt smell permeated the facility.
“We are shifting personnel of the Formal Entry Division to two training rooms at the CIRC building where they can continue to work unimpeded,” Arevalo, who is in charge of the BOC’s e2m project, said.
“(It’s) business as usual at the POM and we are already preparing replacement PCs for installation in a relocation site to be designated,” Arevalo said.
“We are doubling our efforts in order to minimize downtime of our servers and hopefully by today (January 27) we will resume normal operations.”
Since yesterday morning, e2m has been running on a back-up system after servers shut down as a precautionary measure following the four-hour fire that resulted in connection difficulties from e2m terminals, the local area network, and the internet.
Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire which damaged a portion of the Piers Inspection Division (PID) and destroyed an estimated P200,000 worth of properties.
Initial investigation showed the fire started at about 10:23pm on January 25 at the PID and reached the third alarm before being contained at around 2:00am yesterday.
The e2m is to date the biggest project of BOC. It has only been in place at the POM for two months.
The e2m system covers lodgment through value-added service providers; the Client Profile Registration System; Electronic Manifest System; clearance of Formal Entry System (Consumption and Warehousing); use of Payment Abstract Secure System v.5; application of non-cash payments, consisting of Tax Exemption Certificates, Import Entry Declaration, Tax Debit Memos, Import Entry Declaration/Advanced Payment and Deferred Payment of Government Accounts through the e2m Payment System; On-Line Release System; and License and Clearance System involving government agencies that are ready to upload their licenses, clearances and other authorizations to the e2m Customs.