Balikbayan Box 101
The Bureau of Customs outlined a useful question-and-answer list concerning sending balikbayan boxes to the Philippines.
For Overseas Filipino Workers [OFWs] deployed across the vast Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sending a balikbayan box is not extraordinary, and has depicted, in fact, the OFWs' image of sending goods, gifts, and love to their respective families back home.
Q: WHAT ARE “BALIKBAYAN BOXES”?
A: Balikbayan Boxes are packages of personal effects and/or “pasalubongs” sent by Filipinos residing or working abroad to their families or relatives in the Philippines to enhance Philippine tradition and culture for the promotion and preservation of strong family ties through love and caring expressed in gift-giving.
Q: WHAT ARE ALLOWED IN “BALIKBAYAN BOXES”?
A: Non-commercial goods or goods not in commercial quantity strictly for personal use only, such as: wearing apparel, clothing, foodstuffs/grocery items/canned goods; the value of which must not exceed US$500.00.
Q: HOW OFTEN CAN FILIPINOS RESIDING OR WORKING ABROAD SEND A “BALIKBAYAN BOX” TO THEIR FAMILIES AND RELATIVES IN THE PHILIPPINES?
A: One consignor/sender is allowed to send one (1) box during a six (6) -month period.
Q: WHAT IS A CONSOLIDATED DOOR-TO-DOOR SHIPMENT?
A: Two (2) or more balikbayan boxes from two (2) or more individual consignors/senders abroad, assembled and consolidated at one point of origin/exportation and shipped together under a single master ocean bill of lading or master airway bill by a freight forwarder/consolidator to its breakbulk/consolidator agent in the Philippines.
Q: WHO IS ALLOWED TO CONSOLIDATE “BALIKBAYAN BOXES” ABROAD?
A: A foreign freight forwarding entity/ consolidator duly licensed and registered with the Philippine consular office.
Q: WHO IS ALLOWED TO RELEASE A CONSOLIDATED DOOR-TO-DOOR SHIPMENTS FROM THE PHILIPPINE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS?
A: The Philippine agent/representative of a freight forwarder/consolidator named in a master bill of lading or master airway bill as consignee of a consolidated shipment duly licensed by the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Q: ARE THE “BALIKBAYAN BOXES OPENED BY THE PHILIPPINE CUSTOMS?
A: Yes, a 100% examination of the consolidated shipment is required by law:
To protect the legitimate interests of consignors/senders and their consignees, in particular, and the transacting public, in general;
To protect the interest of the government;
To prevent and suppress smuggling and other fraud upon customs.
Q: WHERE CAN WE CHECK AND VERIFY THE LIST OF LEGITIMATE AND PHILIPPINE SHIPPERS’ BUREAU-ACCREDITED FREIGHT FORWARDERS/BROKERS?
A: Verification can be made with the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) under the Department of Trade and Industry on their website: www.dti.gov.ph/consumerwelfare/accreditationoffreightforwarders/listofaccredited or by calling these numbers during office hours: (632) 7513304 or (632) 7513307, contact person: Mr. Jun Bernal.
Q: WHO DELIVERS THE “BALIKBAYAN BOXES” TO THE ULTIMATE CONSIGNEES/RECIPIENTS?
A: The Philippine agent/representative of a freight forwarder/consolidator named in a master bill of lading or master airway bill as consignee of a consolidated shipment duly licensed by the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and/or a local delivery company hired by the Philippine agent.
Q: WHAT CAUSES THE DELAY/NON-DELIVERY OF THE BOXES TO THEIR ULTIMATE CONSIGNEES?
A: Any of the following can cause delays/non-delivery of “balikbayan boxes” to their ultimate consignees:
Unforseen circumstances and/or natural calamity like typhoon that sets back the arrival of cargo carrying vessels;
Consolidated shipments are tainted by:
Undeclared and/or misdeclared goods;
Banned or regulated cargoes like firearms and ammunitions, prohibited drugs, pornographic materials, gambling materials/apparatus;
Goods in commercial quantity;
Consolidated shipments that are abandoned by the Philippine agent/ representative/ broker for reasons of non-remittance of funds by the foreign freight forwarding entity/ consolidator.
Q: ARE COMPLETELY-KNOCKED DOWN (CKD) MOTORCYCLES OR PART OF MOTOR VEHICLES (ALSO KNOWN AS CHOP-CHOP MOTORCYCLES OR VEHICLES) THAT ARE FOR PERSONAL USE, ALLOWED IN “BALIKBAYAN” BOXES?
A: No, these are not allowed in “Balikbayan” Boxes. These are not considered personal effects or household good and are thus treated differently; other documentary requirements are needed for these to be brought into the Philippines without which these vehicles cannot be registered with the land Transportation Office (LTO).
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