Tuesday, August 25, 2015

PNoy assures OFWs of safeguards to prevent abuse in balikbayan box inspections

CEBU CITY, Cebu — President Benigno Aquino III on Monday assured overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that safeguards will be put in place to prevent abuse in balikbayan box inspections.

At a media briefing here, Aquino said he will review the Bureau of Customs' proposed new policies in balikbayan box inspections with Customs and Finance officials on Monday afternoon.

“Pipilitin nating ilagay lahat ng safeguards para walang abuso. Pero palagay ko naman wala naman sigurong magmumungkahi na huwag na nating tingnan dahil trabaho ng Customs iyon na pangalagaan ‘yung inaangkat dito sa ating bansa,” Aquino told reporters.
 
The President said these proposed safeguards include having “independent observers” to make sure that Customs employees do not steal goods from balikbayan boxes.
 
Aquino also explained that X-ray machines will still be used on the balikbayan boxes. Only packages with suspicious-looking items will be opened, he added.

The BOC has earlier announced that it will issue stricter guidelines on balikbayan boxes by October in an effort to curb technical smuggling.

In various posts on social media, OFWs complained that the measure would be an additional burden to them.
 
Others have urged their fellow migrant workers to stop sending their packages until BOC clarifies the plan.

Aquino, however, also appealed to the public to help the BOC perform its job of fighting illegal smuggling.
 
“Wala naman sigurong nagsasabing ‘sige, basta kapag balikbayan box, e pwedeng nang maipuslit ‘yung droga. Pwede nang mailabas ‘yung bala, pulbura, piyesa ng baril, ‘yung baril mismo.’... Tulungan natin ‘yung Customs na gawin ‘yung kanilang trabaho,” the President said. — KBK/RSJ, GMA News

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