BOC blames local forwarders for criticism against new balikbayan box regulation

MANILA, Philippines —The new regulation of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on balikbayan boxes drew flak on social media. The controversial regulation requires senders to detail the contents of their packages. But the BOC explained the new rule is for the welfare and safety of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The agency argued it just wants to protect the valuables of OFWs so it could safely arrive to their loved ones in the Philippines. The BOC said the false impression arose from the vested interests of local forwarders or deconsolidators It explained that senders are not required to include the receipt of the items of their packages if its contents are not new or expensive.

Customs officials argued that the new regulation is just an assurance that OFWs will not abuse the privilege given by the government that balikbayan boxes with contents not exceeding P150,000 pesos will not be taxed. They added that the regulation would also prevent the smuggling of contrabands. BOC-CMTA project manager Althea Acas said, “It’s just common sense because if they are fooling us, and they are sending 20 MacBook Air, they should pay their tax and duties.” They noted that the new regulation will not be a burden because there will no longer be a reason for the delay of packages. Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon reminded OFWs, “Let me repeat, you itemize it.” “Even though you it took you one day to fill it [balikbayan box] it will not take you an hour to write down what you placed inside since it’s only one box,” he added. Meanwhile, Customs reminds senders of balikbayan boxes to send their packages via legitimate, authorized and registered forwarders only.
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