Thousands of Balikbayan boxes from Middle East were left abandoned by courier services at the Bureau of Customs (BOC). However, the agency are trying their best to send these boxes to the recipients.
Jasmine Velarde Espeleta, is one of the OFWs who hired the services of a new balikbayan delivery business to send her hard-earned imported products to her family in Leyte.
The courier service promised to send the balikbayan box to her family within two months. But no balikbayan box arrived after four months of waiting. It was found out that the boxes were left unattended at the BOC.
It was found out that the company didn’t release the payment for these items to be released from the BOC.
“Matagal ka mag-ipon, pinaghirapan mong ipunan. Pagod, puyat, pawis mo. Kasi kailangan mong humanap ng pera bago ka makabili non,” says the OFW.
Thankfully, through the help of BOC and the Door-to-Door Consolidators Association of the Philippines, they were able to send these balikbayan boxes to the families of OFWs in different parts of the Philippines.
Out of the 26 container vans containing 300 balikbayan each, they were able to send 7 container vans already. Another three container vans are being process for release. The rest of the boxes will be processed soon.
“Dahil hindi po nila pinrocess wala kaming pagbabasehan, walang tracking list na pagbabasehan. Kaya kailangan namin i-actual pagka-strip po nito isa isa po namin ito ie-encode yung mga pangalan ng mga boxes na ‘yan, tatawagan po namin yung mga may-ari, informing them that it is either puwede nilang pick-upin,” says Michael Fermin, director of the BOC Administrative Office.
The BOC is also calling for the help of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to act over the negligence of these courier services to the balikbayan boxes sent by OFWs.
“Huwag po silang magpadala sa mga pangako ng mababang collection fees pero hindi naman po makakarating,” says Fermin.
Currently, there are no valid reasons for the delay of balikbayan boxes.
Huwag na lang muli maulit yung port congestion from the previous years. Kasi po yung mga companies sa abroad sa Middle East, hindi po sila nagpapadala ng perang pang-gastos, pang-release sa pier, at pandeliver po,” says Anthony Eugenio of GM Atlas Shippers and corporate secretary of DDCAP.
To those OFW who have balikbayan boxes abandoned at the BOC, you may reach the agency through these hotlines – (02) 87056000.