Recto on suspension of balikbayan box guidelines: ‘Common sense won’

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto hailed the suspension of tighter requirements to be imposed on ‘balikbayan’ boxes to be sent to the country.

“Common sense won,” Recto said.

Under the supposed new guidelines, senders would have to fill up an information sheet, submit a photocopy of their passport and purchase invoices of the goods being shipped.

“Kung sobrang itemized, parang sinulat mo na rin na (If the boxes are really itemized, it’s like you have written) ‘Open me, I’m yours.’ I concede that there must be rules, but not so complicated that the box ends up being wrapped in red tape,” quoted Recto as saying.

In a statement, DFA also thanked the customs bureau for the suspension, adding that “this is good news for the hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipinos.”

“We would like to thank the Bureau of Customs and also the Department of Finance for being sensitive to the needs of our kababayans abroad and for listening to their appeals,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in the statement.

The Bureau of Customs on Thursday, Oct. 5, announced the temporary suspension until March next year, in response to the appeals of Overseas Filipino Workers set to be affected by the new policy.

“Although it is our duty to facilitate customs clearance of balikbayan boxes, we cannot set aside the sentiments of our fellow Filipinos abroad,” Customs Chief Isidro Lapeña said.

The drafting team of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act is now set to meet with stakeholders to craft amendments on the policy.

Source: Interaksyon and

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