OFWs assured: Less hassles in sending balikbayan boxes

By: Nestle L. Semilla December 12,2017 - 10:49 PM


There will be less hassles for overseas Filipino workers in sending presents during the holiday season to relatives in the country.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said during his visit in Cebu on Monday, that his decision to ease the requirements on the balikbayan boxes would be a great help on the OFWs and their families.

“Niluwagan natin yung mga requirements sa mga balikbayan boxes. Mahirap kasi irequire mo yung proof of purchase (in those items inside the balikbayan boxes),” Lapeña said.

(We lift the strict requirements on balikbayan boxes. It is hard to require the proof of purchase in those items inside the balikbayan boxes.)

He was referring to his order on Oct. 3 to suspend the requirement of balikbayan senders to fill up an information sheet, submit a photocopy of their Philippine passport and purchase invoices of goods to be shipped.

Lapeña said requiring them to produce the proof of purchase would be a hassle to them.

He said that this is because some OFWs would start gathering presents of thier loved ones in January or at the start of the year.

He said most of them might come from a garage sale or gifts from their employers or other friends.

“Nag-iipon sila ng items start January para may ibibigay sila this Christmas. Yung iba binigay lang sa kanila, kahit slightly use pagkat magagamit pa ibibigay sa kamaganak sa Pilipinas. Palagay niyo yung proof of purhase maproproduce if ganun ang system? No, they cannot,” Lapeña said.

(They are gathering items start of January for them to be able to send it this Christmas. Other items were just gifts, others are sightly use. Do you think they can produce proof of purchase in that kind of system? No, they cannot.)

He said he knew this because his mother was once an OFW.

Aside from the suspension of the requirements to produce the proof of purchase of the goods to be shipped, Lapeña also ordered the review of the rules and put on hold Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 5-2016, which tightened controls on balikbayan boxes, and CAO No. 04-2017, which aligned balikbayan privileges with Republic Act 10683, the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

Welcomed move

Lhojie Bolotano, 25, a Cebu City resident whose mother works in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), welcomed the easing of the requirements of the balikbayan boxes.

“Mas okay na ilang gibuhat nga mas dali na ang pag-claim ug pagpadaa sa mga packages,” Bolotano said.

(It is okay that they had eased the requirements for the balikbayan boxes because now we can have less hassles in claiming the packages.)

OFW mom

He said that his mom, Judith, who is in Dubai, had sent a balikbayan box and would be expected to arrive on January next year.

He said that because of the requirements, they had experienced the hassle of a long processing time to claim the package.

Bolotano, who was once a Dubai-based OFW, said he also experienced the challenges of sending packages into the country.

“Dili man lisod didto. Ang diri ra dugay maabot daghan og agi-an. Maayo unta karon (in their new policy) dali na,” Bolotano said

(It is not difficult in Dubai. It is only in the Philippines that the process is very long. It will be better if their new policy will hasten the arrival and release of our package.)

X-ray scans

Customs-Cebu Officer-in-charge Wivina Pumatong, for her part, assured residents in Cebu that there are no anomalies like the opening of balikbayan boxes in the port of Cebu.

Pumatong said that they had practiced for several years at the Bureau of Customs-Cebu not to open balikbayan boxes that passed the port because they had X-ray machines to scan the boxes.

“We conduct non intrusive examination. Meaning the X-ray machines. It is only after we found some questionable images (inside the box) that we are going to open it,” Pumatong said in an interview with TV Patrol.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: assured, Balikbayan, boxes, country, during, holidays, OFW, presents, relatives, season, sending

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.