The plan of the Bureau of Customs to randomly check balikbayan boxes has stirred the hornet’s nest. Their intention may be noble (catch those using the BBB process to bring in illegal goods and stuff and increase revenue for the government for items found to be taxable) but they touched a raw nerve. Am sure they didn’t expect that they will get this kind of reaction. Anyway, I’m sharing the following information so everyone will fully understand the implementing rules about balikbayan boxes. Items #1 to #11 are from the website of the Bureau of Customs and these clearly defines the rules of engagement that the BoC is allowed by law. At the bottom of this post is an infographic by the Philippine Star showing the new protocols for balikbayan boxes. So load up with these informations so that you will be in a better position to express your opinions. Read on…
1. WHAT ARE “BALIKBAYAN BOXES”?
Balikbayan Boxes are packages of personal effects and/or “pasalubongs” sent by Filipinos residing or working abroad to their families or relatives in the Philippines to enhance Philippine tradition and culture for the promotion and preservation of strong family ties through love and caring expressed in gift-giving.
Non-commercial goods or goods not in commercial quantity strictly for personal use only, such as: wearing apparel, clothing, foodstuffs/grocery items/canned goods; the value of which must not exceed US$500.00.
One consignor/sender is allowed to send one (1) box during a six (6) -month period.
Two (2) or more balikbayan boxes from two (2) or more individual consignors/senders abroad, assembled and consolidated at one point of origin/exportation and shipped together under a single master ocean bill of lading or master airway bill by a freight forwarder/consolidator to its breakbulk/consolidator agent in the Philippines.
A foreign freight forwarding entity/ consolidator duly licensed and registered with the Philippine consular office.
The Philippine agent/representative of a freight forwarder/consolidator named in a master bill of lading or master airway bill as consignee of a consolidated shipment duly licensed by the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Yes, a 100% examination of the consolidated shipment is required by law:
- To protect the legitimate interests of consignors/senders and their consignees, in particular, and the transacting public, in general;
- To protect the interest of the government;
- To prevent and suppress smuggling and other fraud upon customs.
Verification can be made with the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) under the Department of Trade and Industry on their website: www.dti.gov.ph/consumerwelfare/accreditationoffreightforwarders/listofaccredited or by calling these numbers during office hours: (632) 7513304 or (632) 7513307, contact person: Mr. Jun Bernal.
The Philippine agent/representative of a freight forwarder/consolidator named in a master bill of lading or master airway bill as consignee of a consolidated shipment duly licensed by the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and/or a local delivery company hired by the Philippine agent.
Any of the following can cause delays/non-delivery of “balikbayan boxes” to their ultimate consignees:
- Unforseen circumstances and/or natural calamity like typhoon that sets back the arrival of cargo carrying vessels;
- Consolidated shipments are tainted by:
- Undeclared and/or misdeclared goods;
- Banned or regulated cargoes like firearms and ammunitions, prohibited drugs, pornographic materials, gambling materials/apparatus;
- Goods in commercial quantity;
- Consolidated shipments that are abandoned by the Philippine agent/ representative/ broker for reasons of non-remittance of funds by the foreign freight forwarding entity/ consolidator.
No, these are not allowed in “Balikbayan” Boxes. These are not considered personal effects or household good and are thus treated differently; other documentary requirements are needed for these to be brought into the Philippines without which these vehicles cannot be registered with the land Transportation Office (LTO).
After PNoy ordered to stop random checking of balikbayan boxes, here’s what the Philippine Star shared to guide us from hereon: