New policy for balikbayan box as Customs imposed tax to all items sent by overseas Filipino workers.
Overseas Filipino workers known for showing love to their families in Philippines through sending “pasalubong” commonly known as a balikbayan box, often shipped by freight forwarders now under a new balikbayan box policy. It has been a practice of most Filipinos, refers to modern manifestation of the general Philippine practice where families, friends and colleagues left to expect items or goods from abroad.
However, balikabayan boxes went numerous issues. One of this problems includes balikbayan box industry, affected by cut throat competition with lack of fund and/or non-payment of the foreign principal to their Philippine counterpart, to release and deliver the boxes. A new policy been implemented to all items of balikbayan bax to be taxed.
Customs chief Alberto Lina stated, “[If you live abroad], you can bring anything but you will be taxed. There is no exemption. If you are a balikbayan with the intention of coming back to our country, with your passport and everything, like people who have studied abroad or returning OFWs, these are the only people given the privilege to bring in goods and that will not be taxed if the value of the goods is P10,000 and below,” as to stressing balikbayan box policy.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said, “All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments,”“In the first place, balikbayan boxes are duty- and tax-free packages designed for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sending home gifts to their families,” quoting the Constitution.
Bureau of Customs said not after overseas Filipino workers, or their hard-earned “pasalubong” for loved ones but after smugglers or “riders” who have been sneaking in contraband through fake consignees, dfending its move to be more meticulous with balikbayan boxes, Sunday.
Upon imposing such rules of balikabyab box policy, many Filipino overseas workers shows dismay. Julius Lajara based at the United Arab Emirates launched petition entitled “STOP Philippine Customs to Impose Tighter Rules for Balikbayan Boxes,” said, “A lot of OFW were being affected of the customs to impose tighter rules for balikbayan boxes and will also put additional tax on it. We all know how much corruption is happening in customs right now. We cannot deny it. Add to that they are aggresively telling that they have the rights to open boxes, if something is missing after the inspection we have the rights to report it to the authorities. Who is the authorities they are saying? Even if that happen and we report it we all know that there will be no good output.”
Based on presidential decree issued by then President Fidel Ramos, only returning overseas Filipino workers are given tax exemptions for items with value of up to P10,000, noted Customs. IMAGE/CRISTINA P. RODRIGUEZ