Christmas season

Bam: Improve Traffic before APEC, Christmas Season

Senator Bam Aquino urged the government’s task force on traffic to complete all the needed intervention to improve traffic condition before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November and the onset of Christmas season.

“With the creation of the task force, they have started to exhaust all interventions to ease our traffic situation in the soonest possible time. Pa-isa-isang intervention para malaman nila if these are effective,” Sen. Bam said during an interview.

Among the planned intervention are staggered work hours, high-occupancy vehicle lane or car pooling, Christmas lanes and truck ban, which was re-implemented starting yesterday (Tuesday).

 The senator said the establishment of Mabuhay lanes are crucial because they will be used as alternate routes during the APEC Summit and the Christmas season.

“In the next few weeks, titingnan kung kailangan pa iyong ibang mga intervention para maihabol sa APEC at pasko,” added Aquino, who filed a resolution seeking to formulate strategies and solutions to address the worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila.

Sen. Bam assured that the task force, headed by Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras, will consult the public through hearings before implementing any move.

During the Senate hearing, Sen. Bam said the task force is now focused on moving people faster by improving the movement of high-occupancy vehicles like buses and train.

“Ang isang bus na may dalawang kotse ang haba, can fit up to sixty people. Mas sulit talaga na bigyang pansin iyong bus at tren. Iyon naman talaga ang pangangailangan,” said Sen. Bam. 

Sen. Bam also stressed that the government must put premium on improving the mass transport system to improve traffic in Metro Manila.

Lower Customs Cost for OFWs’ Balikbayan Boxes, Packages – Sen. Bam

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.

Scroll to top