MANILA, Aug. 21 (PNA) — A Catholic prelate is not in favor of the action of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in opening balikbayan boxes of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Bishop Ruperto Santos said such policy would put the workers and even their families at risk.
“As they open those boxes, they are exposing those hard- earned goods for abuses. How will we know that not a single item will be taken away? How about planting of something that could be used against the sender?” he said.
The chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMIP) noted that there are other ways for authorities to check on the balikbayan boxes without opening them.
“Use X-ray machines, rather than opening them. This would lead to suspicions. The sender and forwarders have listings of what are inside the balikbayan boxes, check those lists. Those things inside are for personal use, not for business, are not taxable, why tax them?,” he said.
The priest added, “We at ECMIP oppose this disheartening action, lacking concern to our OFWs who are most the senders.”
BOC officials earlier said they are looking to impose tougher measures on tax-free packages for fear that they are being used by traders to smuggle goods into the country. (PNA)