Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » BOC extends suspension of rules on balikbayan box imports

The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has extended the suspension of its 2016 guidelines implementing duty- and tax-free importation of consolidated balikbayan boxes until revised guidelines are issued.

In a memorandum dated March 16 and signed March 22, Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña said the extension of suspension, which began on April 1, is “until such time the CAO (customs administrative order) providing the Amended Rules on Consolidated Shipment of ‘Balikbayan Boxes’ is issued and has taken effect.”

The suspension of the implementation of CAO No. 05-2016 and Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 04-2017 was originally ordered by Lapeña in October 2017 and lasted until March 31, 2018. It was precipitated by complaints from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who found the rules spelled out in the orders cumbersome.

CAO 05-2016 executes the provisions on balikbayan shipments of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) while CMO 04-2017 covers the revised guidelines implementing CAO 05-2016 and the accreditation of balikbayan box deconsolidators.

Tedious rules?

Under customs rules, qualified Filipinos while abroad may send once a year a balikbayan box with goods worth up to P150,000 that would be tax- and duty-free. To qualify for the privilege, they must accomplish an information sheet, submit a photocopy of the Philippine passport, a copy of invoice, and proof of purchase of the goods contained in the balikbayan box, requirements that many OFWs found too tedious.

They specifically objected to the listing of goods contained in the box, saying this would make easy pickings for corrupt customs officials. At the time the rules were first implemented under former commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, the goods list, according to the BOC, was meant to allow recipients to immediately check if contents of the box are complete.

BOC last March conducted a public consultation on the draft CAO amending CAO 05-2016. – Roumina Pablo

 Image courtesy of yodiyim at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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