MANILA - The Bureau of Customs said Thursday it has temporarily suspended guidelines for the duty and tax-free privilege of consolidated balikbayan boxes amid an outcry from overseas Filipinos that the requirements are too tedious.
In August, the BOC had started allowing overseas Filipinos to send up to three tax-free shipments to their loved ones in the Philippines as long as the total cost of the goods does not exceed P150,000.
BOC guidelines, however, required those availing themselves of the tax-free privilege to accomplish an information sheet, submit a photocopy of their Philippine passport, and a copy of the invoice and proof of purchase of the goods contained in the balikbayan boxes.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña noted that a lot of overseas Filipinos criticized the requirements.
"Although it is our duty to facilitate customs clearance of balikbayan boxes, we cannot set aside the sentiments of our fellow Filipinos abroad," he said.
The Customs chief added that a team would consult stakeholders on how to amend the guidelines.
"With the suspension of the current procedure on balikbayan box, the previous regulation will be enforced," Lapeña added.
The guidelines will remain suspended until March 31, 2018.