MANILA — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday donated 3,915 laptop computers to the Department of Education (DepEd) in support of its teaching and learning process for elementary and high school students.
Customs Commissioner John Sevilla led the turn over of the portable computers to DepEd Secretaty Armin Luistro in a simple ceremony at the Customs main office in Manila.
The BOC chief said that the computers, ASUS laptops, were seized in December 2011 from consignee ORZA Marketing for undervaluation and misdeclaration during the time of then Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon.
“While the donation was approved in 2012, it took time to waive the storage, demurrage and other port charges. It is our goal to expedite the disposition of forfeited items so that we can help decongest the ports and maximize returns—whether in terms of revenues or other non-monetary benefits—for our government and our people,” said Sevilla in a statement
Section 2503 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines mandates outright seizure and forfeiture in favor of the government if the discrepancy between what the importer declared and what was found by the customs examiners has a difference of over 30% in terms of value, volume or weight.
Sevilla noted that the specifications and features of the personal laptops are not suitable for business use, which is the reason why they decided to donate the items to the DepEd, to specifically support its Computer Training and Educators and Resource for Students (CompuTERS) Program.
“If 3,915 computers mga times 20 thou pesos. Hindi na sya super bago. Brand new nung 2011, naka store lang yan,” he said.
According to Luistro, the program aims to bring access to computer technology to more than 20 million learners and more than 600,000 teachers across 46,603 elementary and secondary schools nationwide.
“We thank former Commissioner Biazon since we have initial talks regarding the items…thank you as well to Commissioner Sevilla for the continued talks and for the turn over of the laptops, which we will be deployed to the different divisions in the country,” he said.
Luistro added, “The laptops would be part of the enhancement of other computer program of the department for our various schools these are outside the normal school program.”
For its part, Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI), operator of the Port of Manila; and the shipping lines concerned waived their charges to expedite the donation and transfer of the laptop computers to DepEd.