This is wonderful news for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and travelers.
A newly signed law has just updated the Philippines’ customs regulations which remained unchanged for almost 30 years now.
Officially signed by the outgoing President Benigno Aquino III, Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) amends the Customs and Tariff Code which was last tweaked way back 1987.
In a statement, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina said:
“This is truly a milestone for this administration and the continuing reforms we institutionalize in the bureau.”
Based on this amendment, OFWs will have the privilege of sending balikbayan boxes tax-free as long as its contents do not exceed the amount of Php 150,000. This privilege is available for all OFWs for three times a year.
Travelers, on the other hand, will be able to enjoy shopping abroad because the law now allows them to bring personal valuables that are worth a minimum of Php 150,000 up to a maximum of Php 300,000. The final amount will depend on the length of the traveler’s stay outside the country.
On top of that, returning OFWs will get an additional Php 150,000 allowance.
In 2015, several reported incidents of balikbayan boxes being opened by Customs officials has caused a lot of OFWs and their families to react negatively. To their defense, the Bureau said they did it to check smuggled undervalued and illegal goods. The practice eventually came to a stop, thanks to an order from Pres. Aquino.
Cesar Purisima, Secretary of the Department of Finance, pointed out that the updated law likewise modernizes Customs to improve their process for the benefit of the public.
“Embracing technology and updating regulatory frameworks reduces opportunities for corruption and streamlines client experience with the BOC,” Purisima said.
Lina, on the other hand, added: “The CMTA will establish the requisite foundation for a cashless, faceless and paperless environment in Customs.”
via: philstar / boc /