BOC to tighten regulations on forwarders
MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio has already ordered the drafting of a Customs Administrative Order that will regulate and require the registration of forwarders, Chief-of-Staff of the Office of the Commissioner Atty. Marlon Agaceta said on Saturday.
Forwarders are persons or institutions managing the dispatch and delivery of goods across places.
The drafting is in response to the complaints of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) regarding delayed balikbayan boxes stocked in the BOC.
“Commissioner Bien Rubio already directed the drafting of a Customs Administrative Order to regulate and require registration of these forwarders as a preventive step,” Atty. Agaceta said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.
“Mas hihigpitan po ‘yung mga authorized forwarders that allowed to transact with the BOC,” he added.
(We will be stricter on the authorized forwarders allowed to transact with the BOC.)
He said that one of the programs that the commission is eyeing is providing OFWs with online information about accredited forwarders.
“Isa rin po sa mga programs na sinet ni Commissioner is yung magkaroon ng online information for those accredited forwarders, para ma-avoid ng mga kababayan natin sa ibang bansa na ma-avail yung mga services ng mga mapagsamantalang forwarders,” Atty. Agaceta went on.
(One of the programs set by the Commissioner is to have online information on those accredited forwarders so Filipinos abroad could avoid opportunistic forwarders.)
He went on to explain that OFWs have become victims of these self-serving forwarders.
“Unfortunately po kasi, ang nangyayari po dyan sa mga issues ng balikbayan box, nabibiktima yung mga kababayan natin ng mga forwarders na unscrupulous po,” he said.
(Unfortunately, what happens with the balikbayan box issue is our OFWs become victims of forwarders who are unscrupulous.)
He elaborated that OFWs have certain privileges such as exemption from baggage X-rays, which are being taken advantage of by some forwarders.
“Lahat ng privilege, binibigay ng BOC para sa mga OFWs. Exempted po yan sa X-ray and everything. Kaya lang po, yun nga po, ginagamit po yung privilege ng mga OFWs ng mga mapagsamantalang forwarders,” he said.
(The BOC gives all the privileges to the OFWs. They are exempted from X-rays and everything. However, these opportunistic forwarders take advantage of that exemption.)
He even cited an instance where goods were shipped under the name of certain OFWs without their knowledge.
Atty. Agaceta also mentioned that there are forwarders who abandon the packages they shipped.
“And meron na rin pong isinampang kaso sa mga na-identify na forwarders na pinababayaan yung mga kargamento,” he said.
(There are already cases filed against identified forwarders who abandon their packages.)
To solve such problems with balikbayan boxes, the BOC shared that their practice is to use social media to reach out to those who shipped a package within a particular period through a certain forwarder so they can help return the goods to its owners.