Many OFWs in Hong Kong have started sending their balikbayan boxes to their loved ones in the Philippines in time for the Christmas season, a report by GMA News' Tina Panganiban-Perez on "24 Oras" said Monday.
The report said the OFWs were not worried of pilferage as the Bureau of Customs has already abandoned its earlier plan to manually check balikbayan boxes for contraband and smuggled items.
"Masayang masaya po, walang pag-aalinlangan... hindi na binubuksan [ang box] panatag na ang loob namin," one OFW said.
A manager of a courier service said more OFWs are sending balikbayan boxes now that the BOC is no longer manually inspecting them.
"Nalalaman nila na hindi na nagbubukas. Mas maaga, mas marami, at mas masaya silang magpadala ngayon," she said.
The report showed a crowd of OFWs occupying a sidewalk in Hong Kong and helping each other pack balikbayan boxes. Each box usually contained canned goods, clothes, shoes and toys, the report said.
An OFW said more and more balikbayan boxes will be sent as December approaches. "Kapag padikit ng padikit ang December lalong dumadami," she said.
Whether or not they will be coming home to the Philippines for Christmas, the OFWs said they are happy just to make their loved ones happy with their gifts.
"Masaya kami na nagpapadala sa kanila," one OFW said.
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Transportation reminded air transport agencies to prepare for the influx of packages and passengers bound for the country for Christmas.
The report said the increase in deliveries in the Philippines may be credited to the tax exemption of balikbayan boxes under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act enacted in June.
Under the law, the tax exemption for shipments was raised to P150,000 from the old regulation valued only at P10,000.
The BOC and the Philippine Postal Corporation on October also raised the limit on declaring tax-free products entering the country. —Joseph Tristan Roxas/KBK, GMA News