Balikbayan Box New Rules EXTENSION & REVIEW of implementation
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Dear Mr. President Duterte, BoC, Senators & Congressmen,
The recent rules set on Balikbayan Box sending created a lot of confusion among OFWs and their families. While we appreciate all the efforts your government is implementing for total reform, may we ask for an extension and review of this new rules.
I have summarized a few points that are commonly raised by most overseas filipinos abroad.
Relatives only can receive packages--- Having a common law wife yourself dear President, how will you feel if you cannot send a balikbayan box to her? Filipinos abroad also have partners that are not legally bound as well as LGBTs. The culture of balikbayan boxes extends not only on our families but our friends, our community, and someone mostly anyone you want to share your blessing with. Charity boxes are not new in our country. OFWs abroad have sent thousands of boxes in every calamity our nation had, some regularly send for diff. institutions for the helpless and in need.
Passports, list & receipts---- Itemized list of items is a non issue for most, but for some, they see it as the best way to lure pilferage. Receipts may or may be hard, these gifts sent inside the box is not bought in one go, they are kept for months & years, only buying whenever there is sale or we have extra money to spare. The receipts are mostly made of thermal paper, we all know it fades in time, not all OFWs have free access to copying machines nor printers. And lastly passports-- this is the clear issue in this bunch, passports are the most sacred paperwork for us OFWs. This is the only thing we have that foreigners and employers recognize. Identity theft is a real issue not just on our country but on the whole world. It is a very serious problem that drug or gun smugglers might take advantage of. A lot of workers also don't have their passports on hand because it is part of their contract that employers must keep them. Copies of this will be made, a lot of people who work who'll handle these boxes can have access on these infos (BoC, consolidators, deconsolidators and more). There is not concrete assurance that our identities wont be stolen.
The recent video shared by the BoC in social media is not really a real life scenario, OFWs dont pack their items in the presence of consolidators.
Lastly, the August 1 implementation is very unfair to us abroad. It was early July when this rule was out and publicized. We just then learned that it was just extended from December because of the motion of consolidators. How unfair is it to us when no enough publication was disseminated months before? The FDA rule for limiting a lot of items into certain amounts like 2kg of shampoos, a number of bar soaps etc. also came as a shock that such rule is effective already. Infographics are now being created as a proper guide, kudos to that-- but I can assure you that 80% of filipinos have bought all sort of groceries, gifts, etc that may or may not be able to conform on these limitations.
Pending our request for review, may we ask your government to please extend your Aug. 1 deadline to at least Jan of 2018. In the spirit of Christmas, please allow us to send all our hard earned gifts that we already bought and prepared like we have used to. Let the non citizens but philippines born and raised filipinos send their boxes to their families even for the last time. Now that the new rules are widely spread and disseminated, there would be no reason for us not to comply on Jan 2018 whether it is amended or not.
This is our last request Mr President, balikbayan boxes are part of our culture, no other nation has this, we thank you for this privilege but we also ask for your understanding.
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