Undelivered balikbayan boxes top cargo-related complaints, says DTI
Dozens of balikbayan boxes sent by Filipinos abroad did not reach their intended recipients in the Philippines this year, GMA News' Lei Alviz reported on 24 Oras on Wednesday.
Citing the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the report said DTI's Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau has received 78 complaints regarding balikbayan boxes since January this year.
Of this, 68 were undelivered, six were delayed, two were damaged and one was opened partially.
In 2016, DTI-FTEB recorded 121 complaints regarding balikbayan boxes.
To protect their packages, DTI-FTEB officer-in-charge Ferdinand Manfoste urged senders to visit the DTI website to see if the freight forwarder they're using is accredited to avoid non-delivery, damage, and pilferage.
Manfoste said freight forwarders need to have local counterparts to be accredited.
"Ang foreign freight forwarders na pinagpapadalhan po ng ating mga kababayan sa abroad kinakailangan pong merong ditong local foreign agents or local foreign freight forwarders," Manfoste said.
The report said there are over 700 accredited freight forwarders on the DTI list.
Senders were also reminded to list down the contents of their boxes, to thoroughly wrap their boxes, and if able or willing, to pay for insurance. Balikbayan boxes with values not exceeding P150,000 will be exempted from paying duties and taxes.
Manfoste said senders should also be aware of items that are prohibited from being shipped in balikbayan boxes.
"Currencies or mga cheke; firearms and ammunition, explosives; yung mga alahas, 'di pupwede 'yan. Prohibited drugs and other substances; pornographic materials; pirated products. Plant seeds and plant materials and any food stuff that are not in cans, packages, or in bottles," he said.
Persons whose packages never reached their intended recipients may send their written complaints to DTI-FTEB along with supporting documents such as receipts and packing lists.
Freight forwarders proven to have violated DTI's rules regarding balikbayan boxes and the like may face a fine of up to P50,000 and may have their accreditation cancelled, the report said. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News