THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) efficiently distributed 87 balikbayan boxes to 68 claimants at Port Net Logistics CFS Warehouse in Sta. Ana, Manila, on October 26, 2023. Leading the distribution efforts were Acting Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Fermin of the Internal Administration Group, District Collector Romeo Allan R. Rosales of the Manila International Container Port (MICP), and MICP Deputy Collector for Operations, Atty. Edward R. Ibera.
These balikbayan boxes were sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, but were abandoned by unscrupulous forwarding companies, including Mediacom Express Cargo, Pinoy Network Cargo WLL, RLMSR Freight Forwarding Services, and Benelux Freight Logistics Philippines.
Reports indicate that OFWs paid fees to overseas forwarders for shipping their balikbayan boxes to their families, with local forwarders left uncompensated. This resulted in non-declaration and non-payment of duties, taxes, and charges due thereon with BOC, leading to the subsequent abandonment of the boxes. Unscrupulous forwarders abroad took advantage of OFWs by offering lower shipping fees for balikbayan boxes, enticing them to use their services, but without a counterpart local deconsolidator that will facilitate the clearance and delivery thereof to intended beneficiaries.
In avowed recognition of unsung heroism and intangible contributions of OFWs to the country, the BOC under the leadership of Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio acted promptly to facilitate the eventual release of the subject balikbayan boxes to its intended beneficiaries.
The BOC strongly urges OFWs and the public to be more circumspect and exercise extra caution in selecting forwarding companies for their balikbayan boxes to ensure the reliability and integrity of the services they engage.