MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) gave some reminders for consumers, companies and overseas Filipino workers who send balikbayan boxes to the Philippines.
Before you send that balikbayan box, make sure the freight forwarder is accredited with the Philippine Shippers' Bureau (PSB) to avoid possible problems. (A list of accredited freight forwarders as of end-December 2012 can be found here.)
"Accredited freight forwarders can be trusted because they follow government standards that guarantee their capability to provide reliable service to their clients," Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said.
Maglaya said accredited freight forwarders also observe a code of ethics in doing business, as well as insurance coverage in case of accidents and non-delivery.
As of end-March 2013, there are 632 freight forwarding companies accredited with the PSB. This includes 422 Non-Vessel Common Carriers, 590 International Freight Forwarders and 157 Domestic Freight Forwarders.
The PSB has received 153 complaints on non-delivery of balikbayan boxes from around the world in 2012.
Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, PSB Director-in-Charge, said the non-delivery of balikbayan boxes usually occurs when foreign consolidators/ principal sea freight forwarders do not remit a portion of their collected charges to their accredited Philippine agents/ local sea freight forwarders to prompt the release and delivery of balikbayan boxes.
"When necessary funds are not remitted to accredited Philippine agent/ local freight forwarders, the shipment or the balikbayan boxes with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will not be released and will not be delivered to consignees/ recipients," he said.
Dimagiba further noted that most incidents of undelivered balikbayan boxes involved freight forwarding companies without PSB accreditation. He said the bureau accredits companies to weed out those who are not qualified to engage in the business.
"Therefore, DTI-PSB does not grant accreditation to freight forwarders who have pending or unresolved complaints at the time of their application," he said.
For complaints on the non-delivery, loss or pilferage of balikbayan boxes, send an email to the DTI-PSB (email@example.com) of call (02) 751.3330.