A new set of rules for cargo shipments (Balikbayan Boxes) sent by Filipinos back to their home countries will take effect Starting August 1, 2017 as reported by Gulfnews today.

Stricter requirements will be implemented as stated under Philippine Bureau of Customs memorandum order 04-2017.

In the attempt of preventing smuggling on imported items, this new rule is expected to make an impact not only for Filipinos living in the UAE but from different parts of the world as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are known to send boxes full of goods for their loved ones in the Philippines.

The new provision requires OFWs to declare absolutely everything they are shipping back to their home country from used shirts, down to the last pair of socks. The sender is mandated to fill out a form with an itemized description of belongings, including quantities and actual/ estimated prices. Sending brand-new goodies, such as shoes or bags are required to also provide the compulsory receipts as proof of purchase.

Shipments that fail to fulfill with the requirements might be needed to undergo physical examination and extra charges.

In an interview with GMA News, James Ian dela Vega, legal counsel of Door to Door Consolidators Association of the Philippines (DDCAP) said,

“If the documents are incomplete, for example, there is no receipt, duties and taxes might apply. If the box is addressed to a girlfriend, friend or boyfriend, the balikbayan box privilege will not apply.” Demanding that only the relatives of the sender are authorized to accept the shipment.

The new provisions then stirred protest from concerned organizations that believed requiring expatriate Filipinos to produce receipts for unused items would be very unacceptable.

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