OFW group calls for 'No Remittance Day' on Aug. 28


Posted at Aug 25 2015 03:13 PM | Updated as of Aug 26 2015 04:35 AM

MANILA – A group advocating for the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers has set August 28 as "No Remittance Day," following the Bureau of Customs earlier plan to implement random balikbayan box inspections.

According to Migrante International, the event is a way to show the government, particular the BoC under Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina, the OFWs' sentiments regarding the plan.

The BoC earlier said that the random inspections on balikbayan boxes would be carried out to ensure that unscrupulous traders will not smuggle goods into the Philippines and that the contents are not undervalued or undeclared items.

But on Monday night, the BoC rescinded the random inspection policy after meeting with President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

"[Aquino] emphasized that OFW families view the balikbayan box as an integral part of the family relationship to nurture loved ones at home and as a tangible sign of their love and concern for their family members," the bureau said in a press statement.

The president also ordered the BoC to implement a mandatory x-ray and K-9 examinations of all containers of balikbayan boxes at no cost to the sender or the OFW.

"Only in cases where there are derogatory findings from the x-ray or K-9 examination will there be a physical inspection of goods," the BoC said.

"Second, in the event of a physical inspection, the Bureau will request that an Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) representative or a designated officer of an OFW Association be present, with provisions for CCTV monitoring of the inspection areas," it added.

The government, Migrante said, should be aware of the important contributions of OFWs to the economy of the country. With a report from Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News