Important documents secured: Customs spokesman
Important documents, including transaction records of the Bureau of Customs Port of Manila, were secured after a fire engulfed the building on Friday night.
In a phone interview over GMA's Balitanghali, International Container Port Collector and BOC spokesperson Erastus Austria said important documents processed by customs were not affected.
"BOC has a storage facility for documents and we transfer (the documents) it from the port building in a regular basis because it is voluminous. We process thousands of documents a day and not all of those (are in the Port of Manila) except those that are currently active," Austria said.
"We are mandated by law to keep soft copies. BOC's database is secured, we have no worries that the files were deleted or damaged because of the incident," he added.
The spokesperson also assured that transactions by BOC will still be processed since there will be no disruption in their operations.
Austria said they have not estimated cost of damage. He explained that the pre-war building, which the officials previously planned on seeking approval to declare it as a national heritage, is "priceless."
"When we are being asked about how much damage (the fire caused), we cannot answer because the building is priceless and fairly old," he said.
He said the fire started at the third floor of the building. Customs personnel said it might have started in the Assesment Operations Coordinating Group office.
He denied any speculations that a customs personnel intentionally set the establishment on fire.
"No one in the right mind from BOC would want something like this to happen. In fact, ( we have) to make sure that by Tuesday the Port of Manila will be back on its feet because there are many ships waiting for their vessels to be cleared," he reiterated. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS