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New BOC rule to require balikbayan box senders to list items, restrict recipients to relatives only

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Doing all they can do to fuck people over. 



MANILA, Philippines  –  A new memorandum from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is ruffling feathers for adding new rules and regulations on the sending and receiving of balikbayan boxes.

Set to go into effect on August 1, Customs Memorandum Order 04-2017 requires senders to fill out an information sheet which itemizes the contents in their balikbayan box, as well as provide copies of receipts. Not only that, they must send forwarding companies copies of their passport as proof of their nationality.

The new rule also restricts those eligible to receive the sender’s boxes to their family members or relatives, specifically: the spouse, child, parent, sibling, sibling of parent, first cousin, niece/nephew, grandparent, sibling of grandparent, grandniece/nephew, grandchild, great-grandchild, or great-grandparent.

Forwarding companies have blasted the memo; saying it will place a bigger burden on OFWs and their families.

According to Door To Door Consolidators Association of the Philippines (DDCAP)’s counsel Atty. James Ian Dela Vega, the restriction of eligible recipients is intrusive and impairs the privileges provided by current laws on balikbayan boxes.

“Kung pinadala niya po ito sa kanyang kaibigan, sa kanyang girlfriend o sa kanyang nobya, hindi po siyang maaaring magkaroon ng availment doon sa insentibo o pribileyong ibinibigay ng batas,” he told GMA News.

[If he intended to send it to his friend, his girlfriend or his loved one, he cannot have an availment of the incentives or privileges given by the law because of the rule.]

Dela Vega also noted that the rule also burdens senders who fail to provide an itemized list or other papers by being penalized with additional duties and taxes.

However, Athena Dans, head of Manila International Container Port’s Informal Entry Division, said the new regulations are a norm in other countries and are necessary to guard against smuggling.

“That’s a declaration. You are declaring what’s inside the box. Basic naman ‘yan sa [It’s basic with] customs all over the world. You have to declare what you are importing,” she said. “Kami sa [For us at] Bureau of Customs, we have to protect government revenues, sila naman kasi negosyo ‘yung sa kanila [they have to protect their business].”




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