The Department of Finance (DOF) said on Thursday, March 11, that the Bureau of Customs will donate another batch of seized mobile phones and computers to the Department of Education (DepEd).
In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the Customs bureau is continuing its inventory of seized mobile phones and computers in various ports across the country to supplement the earlier donation made to the DepEd.
Dominguez said the bureau’s donation aims to support DepEd’s blended or distance learning program amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero recently reported to Dominguez that the bureau still has seized smuggled mobile phones stored at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and the Port of Manila (POM).“We are just conducting an inventory, and seeking clearance from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) if these can be donated,” Guerrero said during a recent DOF Executive Committee meeting.
Guerrero said that Customs needs to secure the clearance of the NTC for the donation of the cellular phones because these mobile devices are classified as regulated items.Last Jan. 29, the Customs formally turned over to Education Secretary Leonor Briones 198 units of laptops and 4,840 smartphones that it had seized during a joint operation conducted with personnel of the Clark Development Corp. (CDC).
Dominguez lauded the Customs for not letting its guard down even amid this challenging period spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic.“Our customs officers have continuously modernized their processes and intensified their efforts to combat illicit trade,” Dominguez said.He also commended Briones “for the relentless effort that the DepEd has put in to keep the classes going despite all odds.”
Dominguez has assured Briones of the full support of the DOF and its attached agencies for the DepEd's efforts to ensure that Filipino learners continue their schooling with its blended learning program despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.