BIR: Computer woes still unresolved by DICT

By: - Reporter / @daxinq
/ 05:42 AM October 13, 2018

The operations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)—key to providing the government funds for its economic programs—remain impaired despite promises by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to fix a “hardware meltdown” that occurred in July.

In a press statement, the Department of Finance said its largest revenue collection agency continues to experience erratic network connections in all its systems and electronic services despite the interventions of the DICT, further impairing the revenue agency’s productivity and delivery of frontline services.


Owing to this recurrent problem, the BIR asked the DICT to provide an update on the measures it has taken so far to resolve the bureau’s intermittent network connection as well as the long-term solution it was doing to support the BIR’s complex requirements “on data center hosting and provisioning.”

In a letter to DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., the BIR said it experienced erratic network connection affecting all its systems and e-services on Aug. 10, at the height of the DICT’s work on the hardware provisioning, facility preparations and network reconfiguration to restore and back up the bureau’s Electronic Tax Information System (eTIS) following a hardware meltdown in July.

The eTIS is a web-based internal BIR platform covering taxpayer registration systems, returns filing and processing, collection, remittance and reconciliation, audit, case management system, taxpayer accounts system, batch architecture module and system administration management.

Intermittent DICT network connectivity also severely delayed efforts to transfer the eTIS backup data and files from the Department’s DC in Quezon City to another one in Makati City in August, BIR Deputy Commissioner Lanee Cui-David said in her letter to Rio dated Sept. 20.

“Said network connection only stabilized last Aug. 30, 2018. However, note that eTIS file restoration has not been completed as of date,” added Cui-David, who is in charge of the BIR’s Information Systems Group.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III was furnished a copy of the letter to Rio. The letter was also addressed to DICT Undersecretaries Denis Villorente, who is in charge of Development and Innovation; and Monchito Ibrahim, who handles Management and Operations; and Jennifer Pacatang of the Department of Science and Technology.

“We have always been forthright that BIR needs an iGovPhil DC that is able to fully and adequately address all components of DC hosting and provisioning—infrastructure, services, applications, tools, not simply physical hosting or colocation,” said Cui-David.

Cui-David reminded Rio in her letter that “we have repeatedly communicated the urgency for DICT to speed up the process of strengthening and enhancing the iGovPhil data centers, as envisioned under Executive Order No. 47,” which paved the way for the implementation of iGovPhil (Integrated Government Philippines) Program.

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