MANILA, Philippines – Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio has already ordered the drafting of an administrative customs order that will regulate and require the registration of freight forwarders, Chief of Staff of the Office of Commissioner Atty. Marlon Agaceta said this on Saturday.
Freight forwarders are individuals or institutions that manage the shipping and delivery of goods across different places.
The drafting is in response to complaints from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) over delayed balikbayan boxes stored in the BOC.
“Commissioner Bien Rubio has already ordered the drafting of a Customs Administrative Order to regulate these freight forwarders and require registration as a preventive step,” said Atty. Agaceta said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.
“Mas hihigpitan po ‘yung mga authorized forwarders who were allowed to transact with the BOC,” he added.
(We will be stricter on the authorized freight forwarders allowed to transact with the BOC.)
He said one of the programs the committee is looking at is providing online information to OFWs on accredited freight forwarders.
“The Commissioner may make online information available to accredited freight forwarders to prevent him or her from accessing the services of mga mapagsamantalang freight forwarders,” Atty. Agaceta continued.
(One of the programs initiated by the Commissioner is to have online information about these accredited freight forwarders so that Filipinos abroad can avoid opportunistic freight forwarders.)
He further explained that OFWs have become victims of these selfish forwarders.
“Unfortunately, some forwarders are unscrupulous people,” he said.
(Unfortunately, what is happening with the balikbayan box issue is that our OFWs are becoming victims of unscrupulous forwarders.)
He explained that OFWs have certain privileges, such as exemption from baggage x-rays, which some freight forwarders abuse.
“Lahat ng privilege, binibigay ng BOC para sa mga OFWs. Exempt po yan sa x-rays and such. I think I have a big advantage of mga OFWs and mga mapagsamantalang forwarders,” he said.
(The BOC gives all the privileges to the OFWs. They are exempt from X-rays and all. However, these opportunistic forwarders take advantage of that exemption.)
He even cited an example where goods were shipped under the names of certain OFWs without their knowledge.
Atty. Agaceta also said that there are forwarders who abandon the packages they send.
“And I think it is possible to identify forwarders with their money,” he said.
(Suits have already been filed against identified freight forwarders who abandon their packages.)
To solve such problems with balikbayan boxes, the BOC shared that their practice is to contact through social media those who have shipped a package within a certain period through a certain forwarder so that they can help get the goods back to send to the owners.
Customs Seizes P400-M Smuggled Rice From Three Tondo Warehouses
The bill aims to exempt balikbayan boxes from import duties