With the help of a Power Point presentation, Bureau of Customs commissioner Alberto Lina showed a number of balikbayan boxes that were used to smuggle in illegal items such as drugs, unregistered guns, watches, and motorcycle parts.
Lina said that smugglers take advantage of balikbayan boxes and the name of OFWs. Several OFW groups were also present during this meeting.
Lina presented the process of inspecting container vans and balikbayan boxes that didn’t need to be opened.
President Benigno Aquino III stopped the random inspection of balikbayan boxes following complaints by OFWs on social media.
The container vans will go through a large mobile X-Ray. If there is anything suspicious cargo, the BOC will separate it and have it inspected in a smaller X-Ray.
If there is still something suspicious, it will undergo a physical inspection in front of an OWWA or OFW representative.
If the balikbayan box contains more than PhP10,000, it will be considered taxable per Executive Order 206, s. 1987.
OFW representatives ask for an amendment to the supposedly obsolete law.
Customs will also acquire CCTV cameras and additional K-9 units. They will release additional guidelines by Tuesday.