After strict rules on sending balikbayan boxes sparks anger from OFWs who are sending packages to their families and loved-ones in the Philippines, Customs had suspended its strict guidelines set on August 1.
In lieu of the celebration of Christmas which is less than 80 days by now, a good news has been announced by the Bureau of Customs for OFWs and their relatives in the Philippines when Philippine Customs Chief Isidro Lapena had suspended tedious guidelines on sending balikbayan boxes.
The said suspension is effective until March 31, 2018. However, OFWs found the suspension as just a ‘temporary relief’ because they have to submit to the tedious guidelines set after the end of March next year.
Under the customs orders, qualified overseas Filipinos should accomplish the Information Sheet, submit a photocopy of the passport, a copy of the invoice and proof of purchase of all the goods inside the balikbayan box to be qualified for the P150,000 tax exemption.
Meanwhile, the BOC said that the new regulation has been designed to promote transparency and to control alleged smuggling and evading of tax by Filipino overseas workers.
Senator Ralph Recto also praised BOC’s smart move in easing the rule.
“If the boxes are really itemized, it’s like you have written, ‘Open me, I’m yours.’ I concede that there must be rules, but not so complicated that the box ends up being wrapped in red tape,” he said.
But then Customs Chief Lapena stated that while it is their duty to facilitate checking of the balikbayan boxes, they also take into consideration the sentiments of the Filipinos working abroad who work hard enough to be able to send the boxes to their families and loved ones in the Philippines.