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Migrante organisation slams tax increases on balikbayan boxes

door-to-door (200x176)“The balikbayan box is the closest overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can get to their loved ones while they are away from home.
Only an OFW and his or her family can understand how even the most humble balikbayan box contains the most personalized translation of love and affection for its recipients.
Sending and receiving it is a delightful event in itself. The least the Philippine government could do is to make sure that this simple vehicle of love is not burdened by money-making schemes at the expense of OFWs and their families.”
This was the statement of Migrante Partylist in reaction to reports that the Bureau of Customs plans to increase clearing fees for all containers entering Philippines ports to as much as P100,000 to P120,000.
The first increase of P40,000 per container was imposed last July 27, while another wave of increase is reportedly scheduled to take effect on October 1.
According to reports from freight forwarders and stakeholders in the balikbayan box industry, no consultations were held, nor was there an official memorandum to announce the new round of increases, said Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante Partylist chairperson.
“We demand an investigation into this new fee imposition. What is the reason and rationale for this increase? Why was it imposed despite strong opposition from forwarders and OFWs alike? Where will the added cost go?” she said.
She said that this recent state exaction should be dissected and thoroughly investigated when Congress hears the agency’s proposed 2016 budget.
Bragas-Regalado added that this new round of increase will surely be passed on to OFWs. “A P100,000-increase is expected to translate to an estimated USD$7 (P325) added cost per balikbayan box. This is another burden that OFWs can do without.”