Home » Customs & Trade, Exclusives » New BOC IT chief identifies priorities to modernize systems

Noel Patrick Prudente, the new deputy commissioner of the Management Information Systems and Technology Group (MISTG) of the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC), said he aims to integrate best practices in governance and policymaking to improve the BOC’s computer systems and procedures.

Prudente, in a recent interview, said his priority is strengthening governance and setting up policies aligned with the best practices of top IT companies.

He explained that fortifying governance and policymaking will address the tendency of some to sometimes do away with rules “even if you have the best system.”

Prudente said a solid combination of good policies and good governance will prevent a repeat of the 2017 incident when needed data was not inputted into BOC’s risk management system, resulting in the release of P6.5 billion in illegal drugs.

He noted that electronic systems go by the principle “garbage in, garbage out,” so there has to be strong governance, transparency, as well as accountability for the people who use these systems.

MISTG is now making sure there is a paper trail to provide transparency in processes and accountability for officials and personnel, he added.

Prudente said that in 2018, the plan is to come up with compliances for IT management, data security, and quality management as soon as they have checked the availability of a budget for such an initiative.

He said that with policies and compliances in place, it will be easier to buy equipment and modernize the BOC’s system.

Prudente said BOC is also waiting for approval of the World Bank’s (WB) proposed US$200-million Philippines Customs and Trade Facilitation Project (PCTFP) so they can proceed with modernizing and automating BOC’s systems.

READ: WB designing $200M modernization plan for PH customs

Earlier, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said he was eager to implement PCTFP that aims to support export-led economic growth by assisting BOC to reduce trade costs, improve transparency, and increase revenue collection.

One of the project’s components, and its costliest at $95 million, is designed to support the modernization of BOC’s core ICT systems, related technical infrastructure, and internal capacity to manage and operate a sophisticated ICT operation.

Prudente noted that BOC is fast-tracking laying down all of the groundwork needed to implement the WB’s proposed project.

Asked if BOC has any other project to improve its IT system while waiting for the WB project’s approval, Prudente said they are procuring a system that will fine-tune and enhance the electronic-to-mobile (e2m) system and make it “robust enough to withstand all the transactions for five years.”

These projects, Prudente said, are intended to prepare BOC’s IT systems to cope even as the Philippines is being eyed as the next transshipment hub of Asia, especially with the expected influx of shipments due to e-commerce and with Singapore and Hong Kong already reaching full capacity. – Roumina Pablo

 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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