Philippines: Balikbayan boxes from Middle East abandoned at Customs

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Balikbayan boxes from Middle East abandoned at Customs

Foreign courier services have left thousands of balikbayan boxes from the Middle East at the Bureau of Customs (BOC)

The BOC and local delivery services are working on delivering the packages to their intended recipients.

Jasmine Velarde Espeleta, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Abu Dhabi, claimed that she availed of a new delivery service in Abu Dhabi to send her packages to her family in Leyte.

Espeleta said the service company made a two-month delivery guarantee. However, the packages were merely abandoned at the BOC.

She said the company also did not pay for the processing at Customs and delivery of the packages once they arrived in the Philippines.

“It took a long time to save up money. It took blood, sweet and tears just to buy those things,” she said in Filipino.

Despite not being paid for the service, the BOC and the Door-to-Door Consolidators Association of the Philippines have started delivering the boxes to the designated recipients.

Out of 26 container vans, each with 300 abandoned balikbayan boxes, seven have already had their contents delivered.

The packages in three more container vans are set to be processed and delivered, while the process for the rest will begin on September 30.

According to Michael Fermin, director of the BOC Administrative Office, “We don’t have a packing list because they did not process it.”

“That’s why we have to individually strip and encode the name of the boxes before we call the owners to tell them that they can pick up the package,” said Fermin.

The BOC said they have also coordinated with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to file charges against the delivery services in question.

Fermin also warned OFWs not to fall for cheap collection fees as it will only cause delays and issues with the delivery of the packages.

OFWs who suspect their balikbayan boxes were left behind in BOC should call the agency’s hotline at (02) 87056000 for further information. BKM/ Expat Media


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