The Bureau of Customs (BOC) advised Filipino workers abroad to be cautious in choosing freight forwarders in sending balikbayan boxes to their relatives in the Philippines after a number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were victimized by fake freight forwarders.
In a statement, recipients of balikbayan boxes can check the websites of BOC and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to see the list of accredited sea freight and balikbayan box forwarders.
Customs spokesperson Arnaldo Dela Torre Jr. said the BOC is also coordinating with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to create a joint legal team for the filing of cases against the three consolidators after hundreds of balikbayan boxes did not reach its recipients or destinations in the Philippines.
He said the BOC will push for policies to thwart balikbayan boxes schemes of unscrupulous consolidators abroad.
These measures include, among others, the creation of a Balikbayan Box One-Stop-Shop and the drafting of an inter-agency agreement between the DTI, DMW, and BOC to stop such illicit activities.
Meanwhile, the agency assured Filipino workers abroad that balikbayan boxes sent to their relatives in the Philippines will be delivered to their respective addresses.
Dela Torre said the BOC has implemented several initiatives to deliver all abandoned balikbayan boxes to their rightful claimants.
The BOC said that all abandoned packages shipped by Island Kabayan Express Cargo, CMG International Movers and All Win Balikbayan Cargo would be delivered within one to four weeks, depending on the location of the recipient.
The BOC also said it is optimistic that the balikbayan boxes abandoned by courier services will be delivered to their rightful recipients by the Christmas season.
Dela Torre, in a public hearing said “our prayer is to have these distributed before Christmas.”
The official was referring to thousands of balikbayan boxes—mainly from the Middle East—which were abandoned by courier services at the BOC.
Dela Torre also said out of the 1,480 boxes covered by CMG International, 1,450 have already been delivered by local services, GMA News reported.
There have been 1,154 boxes linked to Kabayan Island, of which 329 have been picked up, 210 delivered, 210 for dispatch, 405 out for delivery, and 88 pending due to incomplete details, the report said.
Dela Torre said there were 4,625 linked to All Win, with the BOC set to conduct an inventory on the remaining boxes on Thursday.
Reports said over the weekend, tensions gripped a warehouse in Bulacan following unclear directions on the release of the balikbayan boxes.
Moving forward, Dela Torre said recipients have the option to wait for the deliveries to be conducted door-to-door, or choose to pick them up at the warehouse if they want.