Angara warns Customs vs ‘balikbayan’ box tampering
Senator Sonny Angara urged the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Sunday to strictly implement the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) that warns Customs officials against balikbayan boxes tampering.
Angara, who sponsored the CMTA or Republic Act 10863, said under the law, officials from the BOC could not easily examine the balikbayan boxes brought in to the country.
“Malinaw sa ating batas na hindi na pwedeng basta nalang bubuksan at kakalkalin ang mga balikbayan box (It’s clearly stated in the law that they can’t just open and rummage through balikbayan boxes). We pushed for this law in response to the complaints of our OFWs and their families that some items in their balikbayan boxes were allegedly stolen or damaged upon inspection,” Angara said in a statement.
The senator issued the statement in anticipation of the high number of balikbayan boxes that would be brought in the country by overseas Filipino workers as the Christmas season draws near.
Also under the RA 10963, all deconsolidators must establish its own customs facility and that warehouses should be equipped by CCTVs to ensure the condition of the boxes.
Only trained BOC personnel are responsible to operate the x-ray machines that would examine the content of the packages, the rule stated.
“Pangalagaan at respetuhin sana natin ang mga pinaghirapan at pinag-ipunan ng ating mga kababayan abroad para ipadala sa kanilang mga pamilya dito sa bansa,” Angara said.
(Let’s take care and respect what our countrymen abroad worked hard for and send to their families.)
According to the BOC, about 800,000 balikbayan boxes are shipped to the country during the Christmas holiday.
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