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

Robie de Guzman   •   December 18, 2019   •   419

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.

Duterte denies appointing new Customs chief

Maris Federez   •   January 14, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte administers the oath of Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero during a ceremony at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City on October 30, 2018. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has denied rumors of appointing a new chief for the Bureau of Customs, now being headed by former Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) chief of staff, Retired Gen. Ray Leonardo Guerrero.

The President said, however, that they had been talking about other possible personalities who can head the BOC.

Duterte also said that he is satisfied with Guerrero’s performance despite continuing reports of corruption inside the bureau.

“I am satisfied with General Guerrero, and he stays there and there are still some complaints so I’ll talk to him. Lalo na ‘yong mga tao na sinabi ko na paalisin na niya, some of them are lingering there. Sabihin ko kay Jagger, alisin mo ‘yan kasi ‘yan ang mga tao who have been there for 20 years, puro corruption ang ginawa,” the chief executive said.

The President made the clarification after a news article claiming that he has replaced Guerrero as Customs chief was published in a broadsheet last week. — mbmf

Guerrero belies replacement rumor in Customs

Maris Federez   •   January 10, 2020

Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero

MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on Friday (Dec. 10) stated that he has not received any order from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for him to step down from his post.

This is after a news article was released in one broadsheet claiming that he is soon to be replaced as Customs chief.

“I would not want to comment further doon sa news article. Hintayin na lang natin kung ano ang guidance ng palasyo. And nag- usap na rin kami ni Secretary of Finance so I am just waiting for iyong guidance,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero said that he will stay in his position as long as he is being permitted to by the President.

“Reasons don’t matter. Sabi ko we serve at the pleasure of the President. I’m a presidential appointee. Anytime pwede akong tanggalin ng appointing authority,” he added.

Guerrero further said that he even met the President at the AFP-PNP command conference last Tuesday and the chief executive has not mentioned anything regarding his said replacement.

The Customs chief also said that he is not familiar with the name William Lima, the person that the newspaper mentioned to be replacing him.

Guerrero maintained that he will just wait for any instruction from the President.

In the meantime, he said, he will be pushing for the full automation of the Customs Bureau to totally eradicate corruption in the agency. — (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

BOC seizes P200K worth of Kush weeds, liquid marijuana

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (BOC-NAIA) on Tuesday said it has intercepted a shipment allegedly containing kush weeds and liquid marijuana with an estimated value of P200,000.

The BOC-NAIA said the shipment was confiscated at the Central Mail Exchange Center in Pasay City on Monday, January 6.

The parcel was intercepted by the bureau in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group.

The shipment, which was declared to contain a pair of shoes and chocolate, was identified to have originated from California.

The parcel was subjected to further examination after authorities detected the scent it emitted which was similar to marijuana shipments previously intercepted by authorities.

It was found to contain four packs of suspected kush weeds and ten cartridges of liquid marijuana.

The shipment was consigned to a certain Xavier Martin Bulos from Sampaloc, Manila, who was arrested when he claimed the parcel.

The BOC said Bulos will face charges for violation of RA 9165 also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization Tariff Act.

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