BOC lists ‘balikbayan’ box items not needing FDA clearance

/ 01:00 AM December 04, 2016

(Editor’s note: We apologize for the oversight. The published version erroneously referred to the issue of nontaxable items. Below is the correct version of the article.) 

Planning to hoard shampoos, soaps or even cosmetic products from abroad? 


The Bureau of Customs has issued reminders for Filipinos planning to purchase such items for personal use from other countries.

This is without having to seek clearance from the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.


In a post on its Twitter account @CustomsPH, the items covered by the BOC’s reminder are: perfumes, lipstick, shampoo, lotion, bar soap, cosmetics, toys, childcare articles, and household cleaning items.

The allowable limit is as follows: perfumes, five pieces; lipstick, 10 pieces; shampoo, two kilos; lotion, two kilos; bar soaps, two kilos; assorted cosmetics, one kilo; toys, 10 pieces; childcare articles, five kilos; household cleaning items, five kilos.

These items may be brought into the country in passenger baggage, balikbayan boxes or parcels sent by mail or delivery services.

“Items with quantity beyond the specified limits will be seized and forfeited in favor of the government,” the BOC said in its Twitter message.

On the other hand, those within the specified limit will be allowed without clearance from the DOH or FDA, but subject to payment of customs duties, when necessary.

Under BOC rules, allowed in balikbayan boxes are non-commercial goods or goods not in commercial quantity strictly for personal use such as clothes, foodstuffs, grocery items, canned goods and other similar items.

Under the new Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the tax exemption ceiling for balikbayan boxes was hiked to P 150,000 as long as boxes contain items not in commercial quantities.


Overseas Filipino workers may avail of the privilege up to three times a year.

The BOC is finalizing the implementing rules and regulations of the CMTA to fully implement new rules on tax exemptions for balikbayan boxes.

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TAGS: balikbayan boxes, Bureau of Customs, customs duties, nontaxable items, Smuggling
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