Controversial new rules on balikbayan boxes start August 1

  • Page Views 447
  • The Philippine government is imposing new rules for Filipino expatriates sending balikbayan boxes, which will take effect on August 1.

    The regulations are being criticized for being cumbersome, and unfair to Filipino overseas workers and those residing abroad.

    Some senders may expect delays or incur additional duties and taxes.

    Starting August 1, 2017, all senders of parcels containing personal effects and household items, commonly called “balikbayan boxes,” will be subjected to stricter requirements, as stipulated under Philippine Bureau of Customs memorandum order 04-2017.

    The new rules seek to promote transparency and prevent smuggling on imported items, according to the Bureau of Customs in the Philippines.

    With the new provisions, overseas Filipinos are mandated to declare absolutely everything they are shipping back to their home country, from used shirts, clothes, down to the last pair of socks – if they don’t want to pay taxes.

    The sender is required to fill out a form with an itemized description of goods, including quantities and actual/ estimated prices.

    Filipinos abroad sending brand-new goodies, such as shoes, bags or clothes, are required to also provide the necessary receipts as proof of purchase.

    Shipments that fail to comply with the requirements might be subjected to physical examination and extra charges.

    Particularly, the order requires the sender to submit three copies of information sheets indicating the sender and Philippines-based recipients as well as shipment details. They should also submit supporting documents such as the biographical page of their Philippine passport, a copy of the invoice, and receipts of payment for the goods contained in the balikbayan box if any.

    Dual citizens sending balikbayan boxes to the Philippines must include proof of their dual citizenship.

    Cargoes that don’t contain goods in commercial quantities are normally exempt from duties and taxes, and they don’t usually undergo such meticulous screening processes.

    The new policy is the latest in a series of guidelines that Philippine authorities have been working on to tighten their watch on the importation of goods. Late last year, a set of guidelines was announced that effectively hiked the duty-and tax-free ceiling for balikbayan boxes to P150,000 (approximately Cdn$3,700).

    According to an official of Door to Door Consolidators Association of the Philippines (DDCAP), the new rules could lead to delays in the delivery of OFWs’ packages.

    “If the documents are incomplete, for example, there is no receipt, duties, and taxes might apply,” said lawyer James Ian de la Vega, legal counsel of DDCAP, in an interview with GMA News.

    The Bureau of Customs order also stipulates that the package should be addressed to a family member or relative of the sender. “If the box is addressed to a girlfriend, friend or boyfriend, the balikbayan box tax-free privilege will not apply,” said de la Vega in Tagalog.

    An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) criticized the new Customs rules. Bishop Rupert Santos, chairman of the CBCP-ECMI, said requiring expatriate Filipinos to produce receipts for unused items would be cumbersome.

    “The inclusion [of] receipts will be problematic and burdensome to our OFWs. Why? To fill up a balikbayan box usually takes up months as they wait for sales and they will ship them for Christmas or before graduations and so to keep up receipts is added difficulty,” said Bishop Rupert Santos, chairman of the CBCP-ECMI.

    A migrant workers’ rights group has condemned the Bureau of Customs’ new guidelines on balikbayan boxes, calling the memorandum a “money-making” requirement.

    The Bureau of Customs said there is no limit to the number of balikbayan boxes that OFWs can send per shipment provided that its total value should not be more than P150,000 in a calendar year.

    The 22-page Customs Memorandum Order 04-2017 was signed by BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on January 20, 2017.

    In 2015, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) also opposed a BOC directive on their balikbayan boxes. The agency ordered random inspection of balikbayan boxes to check for smuggled goods which were identified as “undervalued items” and “undeclared contents.”

     

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 18 August 2017
      2 days ago No comment

      The Angelos and an Anti-Drug Youth Program

      Angel Thoughts “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”—Aristotle Food for thought for those who don’t think seriously about climate change…a trillion-ton ice cap broke off in Antarctica this week. Think how they will elevate ocean levels all over the world and affect global warming! * * ...

    • 15 August 2017
      5 days ago No comment

      Rene Salud’s Philippine Tapestry show to dazzle Vancouver on August 20

      It takes a Philippine ambassador of fashion, Renee Salud, to come up with “Philippine Tapestry” – an initiative to highlight all the major weaves of the island, in an effort to promote indigenous materials and the age-old artistry of Filipino weaving. This, while highlighting the exceptional beauty of the ...

    • duterte-invites-trudeau-tovisit-philippines-philippineasiannewstoday
      11 August 2017
      1 week ago No comment

      Duterte invites Trudeau to Manila

      A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson in Manila has announced that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has invited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit the country. Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar on August 6 said that the Philippines has requested Trudeau to attend the Association of the South East Asian Nations ...

    • 10 August 2017
      1 week ago No comment

      La Luna Sangre continues to win hearts of viewers

      The lives of Malia and Tristan get more exciting and dangerous as their story continues in “La Luna Sangre” airing outside the Philippines via TFC’s platforms worldwide ABS-CBN’s highly anticipatedepic saga series “La Luna Sangre”, top-billed by Kathryn Bernardo,Daniel Padilla, and Richard Gutierrez, with the special participation of Angel ...

    • 10 August 2017
      1 week ago No comment

      Jona of Team Sarah is the first The Voice Teens Grand Champion

      Team Sarah’s Jona Soquite was declared the first-ever grand champion of “The Voice Teens”in the country and in Asia after receiving 44.78% of the public text and online votes in the program’s grand finale Sunday night (July 30). Jona, Sarah’s third artist to win the top-rating singing competition, beat ...

    %d bloggers like this: