The Philippine Bureau of Customs ( BOC) is planning to update its rules and regulations on the shipment of balikbayan (Filipino overseas) boxes to guard against unscrupulous traders trying to smuggle goods into the country, an official said Monday.
In his recent spot check operations, Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina said the items inside balikbayan boxes can may well be considered as smuggled goods because of non-compliance to the Philippine Tariff and Customs Code.
He said unscrupulous traders are now regularly importing high value goods in commercial quantities through these boxes.
"The existing rules are obsolete and we may have to reassess our coordination and processes with consolidators for stricter and improved compliance," he said, in relation to a Customs Memorandum Order for consolidated shipments from Filipinos abroad dating in the 1990s.
Started in the 1980s, balikbayan boxes are duty and tax free for Filipinos residing or working abroad to sent packages of personal effects or gifts to families in the Philippines for purposes of preserving strong family ties.