Good news for 10 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) burdened by the tedious and costly process of sending balikbayan boxes to their loved ones in the Philippines.
Sending balikbayan boxes and other low-value and low-risk packages to the Philippines will be faster and cheaper if the proposal of Senator Bam Aquino to update the current de minimis threshold is enacted into law.
“Sending a balikbayan box home especially this coming Christmas season becomes burdensome for these modern-day heroes. Currently, these packages undergo a tedious process in the customs and are charged fees that are discouraging for OFWs to send more regularly,” the senator said.
“There is a need to provide the ten million Filipinos abroad, who have been already contributing greatly to the economy the past four decades, a better customs administration by reducing the de minimis threshold,” he added.
Currently, the Philippines has the lowest de minimis threshold, or the minimal volume of declaration of goods in the customs for consignments, in the ASEAN, at PhP10 or US$0.23. The ASEAN average threshold is at a hundred dollars.
“The extremely low Philippine threshold has not been changed since 1957 and is clearly antiquated. It needs to be updated to be reflective of current prices,” the senator said.
The lawmaker explained that thresholds for customs declaration signify increased documentation and processes for shipments at entry points in the country.
“Increased documentation leads to larger turnover and delivery time of goods, and larger administration costs that would yield lower revenue impact for both businesses and government,” he added.
By increasing the de minimis level to a more realistic and relevant figure of P10,000, Aquino saidbalikbayan boxes and other packages of OFWs, entrepreneurs and other individuals will be processed by Customs faster with minimum fees.
“Also, it will enable the Bureau of Customs to focus its efforts in looking out for high-value, high-risk and high-revenue goods for collection and enforcement, thereby making customs processes more efficient,” he added.