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BOC order: kontra-OFW?

by | TOP STORIES

Aug. 03, 17 | 12:09 am

Cargo forwarders are advising overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to start packing their Christmas balikbayan boxes now to avoid the anticipated delays resulting from the new Customs directive requiring lengthy shipping procedures and the holiday peak season congestion at the ports which starts next month.    

‘Ang mga OFWs ay mga maliliit na tao na nagpapakahirap at nagsisikap sa ibang bansa para sa pamilya nila, hindi para mag-smuggle.

Pinoys across the world on the other hand are saying Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 04-2017 is an added burden , as can be gleaned from their comment threads on various Facebook pages, including that of The Filipino Times’ and Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon’s, himself, expressing sentiments against the issue.

In the UAE, no less than the head of the 80-member-organization strong FilClub has lashed at BOC, saying the agency should instead go after big time smugglers and not prey on balikbayan boxes of the lowly OFWs.

“Why is the BOC turning on to OFWs?  Ang mga OFWs ay mga maliliit na tao na nagpapakahirap at nagsisikap sa ibang bansa para sa pamilya nila, hindi para mag-smuggle,” Dayot said.

“If BOC wants to apprehend smugglers, then find other ways. We are in modern days now. We have a lot of new technologies to trace if the baggage has smuggled content or drugs,” she added.

Echoing her remarks Marilyn Siervo, general manager at MSM Cargo, said BOC should focus efforts on who’s behind the controversial  foiled bid to smuggle 605 kilos of shabu, worth Ph6.25 billion, from China to the Philippines via Customs,  which is now under investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

“Ang daming kontrabandong pwedeng ayusin, yung balikbayan box ang pinagtutuntunan komo mga maliliit na tao,” she said.

‘Pahirapan ‘to’

“Pahirapan ito sa Customs,” said Jovin Castro, Pinas Express Cargo’s Satwa branch manager. “Expect at least one week delay sa lead time as a result.”

Castro said cargo forwarders allot around 30 to 50 days for the balikbayan box to reach its destination in Luzon. “Lalo pa ngayon, papasok na tayo sa peak season sa September, so may dagdag na lead time,” Castro said.

The delay could take no less than 10 days, other forwarders said.

Augusto “Marz” Marcial, business development officer at Makati Express and sister company, Prime Express, said the delay is “expected.”

“Talagang magkakaruon ng delay kasi bagong formalities na naman ito sa Customs. Lalo ngayon, napasabay pa sa peak season,” he told The Filipino Times.

“Siguradong magkakaruon ng congestion dahil nga sa formalities na ‘yan. Kung hinahabol nila (OFWs) ang Christmas, magpadala na sila ngayon,” Marcial added.

‘Perwisyo!’

Marilyn Siervo, general manager at MSM Cargo, for her part, disclosed that a dry run had earlier been conducted with a cargo forwarder on the directive’s implementation. “Nagka-delay talaga,” she said.

Siervo said cargo forwarders have yet to receive advice from Customs whether to go ahead with the directive. “Hindi kasi ganuon kadali i-implement. Hindi posibleng mangyari, pwera na lang kung high tech ang mga gamit nila sa Customs,” she said. “Perwisyo, in short!”

Siervo said a shipping container from the UAE usually has up to 300 balikbayan boxes. Documenting them according to Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 04-2017 would add a new layer in the shipping process and thus, more time.

“Mabuti sana kung ang isang container ay limang balikbayan boxes lang ang laman,” she  said.

Efren Balandra Artillaga, Jr., Philippine cargo supervisor at Flomic Freight & Logistics, said CMO 04-2017 would entail “additional work on our part.”

“We would need to fill up 5 pages of information sheet for every customer,” he  said.

“Every container has 200-300 balikbayan boxes  and BOC is requiring us to submit and fill up information for each, which is redundant.  For each form you need to fill all the information required, from vessel information and so on,” Artillaga added.

CMO 04-2017, which was supposed to fully take effect on Aug. 1, 2017, requires cargo forwarders to:  fill up Section D of the required Customs’ provided information sheet which pertains to the “deconsolidator” or the company back in the Philippines that would process the release of the balikbayan box from the port.

CMO 04-2017 also has a provision requiring cargo forwarders to submit a certificate to the shipping line stating they have complied with Section D.

Shipping

Marcial meantime said that due to the tough competition, cargo forwarders in the UAE refer to companies with lower rates but longer shipping time to save on costs and realize profits.

“Matindi ang competition. Ang rate ng cargo box, pababaan. Yung mga forwarders, di nila maitaas ang rate nila. So, kumukuha sila ng shipping lines na mura para makamenos,” Marcial explained.

Standard shipping lead time is 21 to 25 days from port of departure to final port of destination, he said. This can actually be trimmed down to 15 days if more expensive shipping lines are preferred. “Kasi hindi ma-afford ng mga forwarders,” Marcial said.  

Most cargoes bound for the Philippines pass through the busy Singapore transshipment hub which reportedly experiences congestion around this time of the year. The same is true with other ports like China’s, the forwarders said.

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It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 2.5 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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