PH Customs clarifies guidelines on sending duty, tax-free balikbayan boxes

Robie de Guzman   •   December 18, 2019   •   736

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday clarified its guidelines in sending balikbayan boxes and the persons qualified to benefit from the privilege.

In a statement, the BOC said that overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and other Filipinos, while residing abroad or upon their return to the Philippines, are allowed to bring or send duty- and tax-free goods to their families and relatives, under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The bureau said that qualified Filipinos while abroad (QFWA) refers to OFWs with valid passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and certified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for overseas employment purposes.

The QFWA are Filipinos who work in a foreign country under employment contracts, regardless of their professions, skills or employment status.

It also includes Filipinos working abroad under job contracts that do not require certification from DOLE or POEA.

Resident Filipinos, on the other hand, refer to resident Filipino citizens who temporarily stay abroad, including holders of a student visa, investor’s visa, tourist visa and similar visas which allow them to establish temporary stay abroad.

The BOC said that balikbayan boxes may be sent up to three times in a calendar year, provided that the total value shall not exceed P150,000.00.

“Any amount that exceeds the allowable value is subject to payment of duties and taxes,” the bureau added.

To qualify for the duty and tax-free privilege, the ultimate recipient or consignee of the balikbayan box must be family or relative up to the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, the agency further stated.

Under CMTA’s Section 800 (g), balikbayan boxes should only contain personal and household effects such as wearing apparel, personal adornments, electronic gadgets, toiletries.

Goods in commercial quantities and those intended for sale or for hire are not covered by the duty and tax-free balikbayan box.

The sender is also required to submit an accomplished and signed Information sheet, which may be obtained from consolidators, value-added service providers or through the BOC website at customs.gov.ph.

The sender must also secure a Tax Exemption Indorsement from the Department of Finance -Revenue Office.

PH sends back over 2,600 tons of wastes to South Korea

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has shipped back to South Korea some 2,676 metric tons (MT) of waste materials that were stored at the PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority premises in Misamis Oriental since 2018.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the shipment was part of the 5,176.91 MT that the South Korean government committed to help send back to their country after these were illegally exported to the Philippines in July 2018.

The waste materials consist of plastic synthetic flakes that were illegally imported by the Cebu-based Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp.

Guerrero said the garbage was shipped back in 151 forty-footer containers.

The first batch of 51 containers was re-exported to Korea on Jan. 25, 2019, followed by another shipment of 50 containers on Jan. 15 this year.

A third batch consisting of 50 containers was shipped to Korea last March 21.

“The re-exportation took some time because the wastes have been exposed to natural elements of heat and rain, which made it difficult to re-bag and stuff inside the containers,” Guerrero said in his report.

The remaining 2,500 MT of wastes were initially scheduled to be shipped back in March but it was delayed due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), according to Guerrero.

The community quarantine has forced most people to stay in their homes as the operation of public transportation and classes in schools were suspended. Most government offices have implemented a skeleton force while other employees were ordered to work from their homes.

“Rest assured that the Bureau will undertake all the necessary means, within the bounds of the law, in order to expedite the re-exportation of these wastes,” Guerrero said.

BOC donates seized fish, rice shipments to OCD

Robie de Guzman   •   April 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has donated to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) containers of food items that were seized at the Manila International Container Port (MCIP).

In a statement, the BOC said the move is in compliance with the directive of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to donate goods in its custody as an aid to poor families affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The donated food items include 320 containers of rice and 186 containers of frozen bonito, mackerel, moonfish, squid, and round scad which were abandoned/forfeited, and were deemed properties of the government pursuant to the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The BOC said it signed the deed of donation on April 7, Tuesday.

“To ensure that donations are fit for human consumption, the goods shall undergo examination and certification with the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources prior to its distribution,” it said.

The donation is also pursuant to the provisions of the Joint Administrative Order No. 20-01 that abandoned/forfeited cargoes shall be given to the OCD for distribution.

Section 1141 (Mode of Disposition) of the CMTA also states that goods in BOC’s custody that are up for disposal “may be donated to another government agency or declared for official use of the Bureau, after approval of the Secretary of Finance, or sold at a public auction at the Port where the goods are located and published electronically or in a newspaper of general circulation.”

Last week, the BOC-Port of Davao also donated various personal protective equipment and medical emergency supplies to Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and to different medical facilities in Mindanao.

Bureau of Customs turns over P13.2-M worth of seized marijuana to PDEA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 7, 2020

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Monday (April 6) turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 11.569 kilograms of seized marijuana with an estimated value of P13.2 million.

The customs examiner suspected some irregularities when upon physical examination of 14 cans labeled as a healthy meal formula, the labels were found to be movable and not permanently attached.

This prompted the examiner to have the cans opened that revealed to contain plastic sachets of leaves suspected to be marijuana.

The items were also subjected to K9 sniffing which indicated the presence of illegal drugs, prompting a chemical analysis by PDEA which affirmed the findings of BOC-Clark personnel.

On 30 March 2020, Warrants of Seizure and Detention (WSD) were issued by District Collector Ruby Alameda against the subject shipments for violation of R.A. No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) in relation to Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

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