The price of onions has skyrocketed in recent weeks.


OFWs must have permit to bring onions into Philippines, BOC clarifies

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and travelers are not allowed to bring onions and other vegetables to the Philippines without obtaining a clearance permit, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has clarified.

This comes after recent reports of OFWs bringing onions as gifts as the price of the cooking staple skyrocketed in recent weeks. Prices of onions have gone up as much as P500 (Dh33) per kilo in the Philippines. In the UAE, onions are being sold for as low as Dh2 per kilo.

ALSO READ: Filipino cabin crew accused of smuggling 27kg onions from Dubai and Riyadh

“Travelers may not bring in vegetables (regardless of quantity) into the Philippines without the required Plant Quarantine Clearance (for personal use) or Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (for commercial use) from the Bureau of Plant Industry,” according to BoC NAIA.

According to the BoC, the requirement for a clearance permit to bring in vegetables is to “to safeguard and prevent the spread of plant pests in the Philippines.”

Travelers will also need a clearance permit in order to bring into the Philippines any fresh or frozen unprocessed food, pesticide, dangerous drugs, controlled compounds or essential chemicals.

Travelers can request the Department of Agriculture (DA) for a permit to bring in fresh or frozen unprocessed food, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a permit to bring pesticides. Clearances for dangerous drugs, controlled compounds and essential chemicals can be requested from the Dangerous Drugs Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

What can OFWs, travelers bring into the Philippines without clearance?

In a joint circular, the DA, FDA and BoC said there are regulated products that travelers may bring into the country in limited quantities and without clearance from the FDA.

However, the products must be for personal use and must not exceed the quantity limit. The products must also be brought into the Philippines in the traveler’s personal luggage, balikbayan box or parcel sent through courier. The regulated products are as follows:

1. Assorted cosmetics: 5 kg

2. Bar soap: 2kg with different variants (up to 500 grams of the same variant allowed)

3. Childcare items: 5 kg

4. Household hazardous substances (detergent, fabric conditioner, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid): 5 kg

5. Insulin needles and lancets: up to 100 pieces

6. In-vitro diagnostic products: 1 piece of each type

7. In-vitro maintenance test strips: up to 100 pieces

8. Lipstick: 10 pieces comprising different variants (Up to 3 pieces of the same variant allowed)

9. Lotion: 2 kilograms comprising different variants (only up to 1 kilogram of the same variant allowed)

10. Medical devices: 1 piece of each type

11. Over-the-counter drugs: 50 grams

12. Perfumes: 5 pieces

13. Prescription drugs, quantity or volume indicated in physician’s prescription (actual prescription must be presented, indicating physician’s license or practice number)

14. Processed food (including cooked food): Up to 10 kg

15. Shampoo: 2 kg

16. Toys: 10 pieces of different variants (Up to 2 pieces of the same variant)

17. Vitamins, supplements: 500 grams

18. Wines, alcoholic beverages: 2 bottles, but not exceeding 1.5 liters

KD/Expat Media

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