Friday, October 30, 2015

Balikbayan Boxes: To Open or Not To Open?

It's undeniably Christmas season once again, specially in the Philippines where eager anticipation starts as early as the "ber" months. Synonymous to this for Overseas Filipino Workers' (OFW) families are the coming of Balikbayan Boxes.
Balikbayan Box
Balikbayan Box
You've probably heard about the "opening" of the Balikbayan Box issues in the past few weeks where the president himself has ordered to stop the "opening" of Balikbayan boxes which was contrary to the Bureau of Custom's (BOC) stance.

"Balikbayan Boxes" are shipments of OFWs from other countries coming to the Philippines. These are generally tax-free to give credit to the hard-work of the OFWs who help the Philippine economy. However, some scrupulous businessmen use this opportunity to smuggle premium goods into the country by disguising them as Balikbayan boxes. This has been a concern by BOC Customs Chief Bert Lina, recently.

On the other hand, messing with the legal ones caused an uproar in the OFW community due to privacy issues, among others.

And with the Christmas season just around the corner, and OFW Balikbayan boxes pouring in, the issue turned hot once again as reports have identified activities by the BOC continuing their inspections of Balikbayan Boxes.

Is the BOC turning a deaf ear to the president's orders? What is your stance on the issue of "opening" the Balikbayan Boxes? Share your thoughts and feedback at the comment section below!

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