‘Balikbayan’ Box Forwarders Seek Rules

MANILA, Philippines --- Members of an association in the door-to-door cargo industry yesterday urged the government to come up with regulatory measures on cargo forwarding companies abroad that could address the worsening problem of undelivered balikbayan boxes.

Door-to-Door Cargo Association of the Philippines (DDCAP) President Joel Longares suggested that there should be a close coordination between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and their foreign counterparts to regulate these firms.

''The problem with the balikbayan boxes industry is that even fly-by-night companies abroad can easily engage in the business as there are no current accreditation requirements being imposed by the DTI to foreign companies,'' he said.

This was also the observation made by LBC executive Javy Montecon why several overseas Filipino workers fell victims to the scam on balikbayan boxes.

''Since the industry is not regulated abroad, anybody who thinks he can start a balikbayan boxes business can easily open one, only to pass on the responsibility of delivering the boxes to another company once they start having problems filling up a container van,'' Montecon said.

The DDCAP claimed that once these companies have collected the fees from their clients, they do not bother sending the money to the Philippines to pay for shipping, arrastre and duties.

As a result, several packages were not delivered to consignees, prompting the Bureau of Customs to seize them.

Many overseas Filipino workers complained that they had to pay additional charges for the delivery of their packages.

These mounting complaints had reached the BOC, which observes that the situation worsens at this time of the year when the ''ber'' months begin marking the onset of the Yuletide season.

''The reason why balikbayan boxes are not delivered is always due to its consignee's failure to pay its duties and taxes, ''said BOC- Manila International Container Port official Athena Dans.

The Philippine Shippers Bureau (PSB) of DTI, an agency responsible for the accreditation of local door-to-door cargo forwarding companies, earlier warned OFWs on blacklisted cargo consolidators abroad for reports of undelivered balikbayan boxes to their consignees.

These were the principal consolidators operating in the United Arab Emirates, United States, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Ireland, and Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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