By Raymund Antonio
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) expressed its commitment to continue its operations as it announced Sunday it was already conducting its own probe into the fire that razed the agency’s Port of Manila building Friday night.
BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he directed the Intelligence Group and the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) to look into the cause of the blaze.
“We have our Enforcement and Security Service securing the affected offices, and our Intelligence Group and the CIIS have been tasked to identify the cause of the flame,” he said in a statement.
The BOC’s Internal Administration Group, along with the POM district office, have been also tasked by Guerrero to submit a report about the fire incident to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and President Rodrigo Duterte.
Restoring and re-establishing the systems and facilities affected by the fire will be a daunting task for BOC, but Guerrero assured the public they will resume normal operations on Tuesday.
“The BOC-POM remains committed to providing timely and results-oriented service to the Filipino people,” Guerrero, a former military chief, said.
The commissioner said both the POM and Central Office were working during the long weekend.
February 25 is a special non-working holiday in observance of the 33rd anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
He said the Management Information System and Technology Group was re-establishing the information system so the Manila port can immediately offer its services to its stakeholders.
“Everyone at the BOC is working together to help the Port of Manila in getting up as soon as possible to stabilize the situation and guarantee minimal disruption for the transacting public,” Guerrero said.
“We need to bounce back from this tragic event. And while this would be a long and difficult process, with your full support for the institution, BOC will not be daunted by this temporary setback,” he added.
According to the Manila Bureau of Fire Protection, the fire started at about 9 p.m. at the third floor of the building and reached the fifth alarm.
The BFP has yet to determine the origin and cause of the fire. Authorities gave an initial estimate of P50 million in damage to property.