Sen. Marcos calls Bureau of Customs 'shameless'

Senator Bongbong Marcos called out to the country's Bureau of Customs (BoC) to ask if they got some shame in their current drive to impose tax or additional fees on the balikbayan boxes being sent by the OFWs.

Bongbong marcos customs walanghiya

Marcos said, a balikbayan box is like a personalized love letter of a foreign worker to his/her spouse or family member. They spent their hard-earned money in order to fill up every box that is to be sent to their families.
To the BOC, I ask: Have you no shame? For every OFW, a balikbayan box is the equivalent of his or her love letter to a spouse and the rest of the family. Every item inside that box was bought with a specific person and purpose in mind, bought for with the hard-earned money of our modern-day heroes. So if a single item there gets lost, can you imagine how that feels to an OFW who invested so much emotion and money just to get those goods home
The Senator also warned BoC Commissioner Alberto Lina against the above-mentioned imposition of fees on the balikbayan boxes of the OFWs and a plan to randomly open such in order to filter out possibly smuggled items.

"Mr. Lina, you are a public servant. It is your duty to consult with stakeholders first, before embarking on any draconian measure that would turn their lives upside down. You seem bent on bullying OFWs while turning a blind eye on the large-scale smuggling that goes on in nearly all ports across the archipelago", Marcos told Lina.

In the light of the roaming hot issue involving the country's "modern heroes", Marcos put on a challenge for the BoC to justify its plan before the Senate during the upcoming budget hearings.

Marcos also wanted to know how many big time smugglers the agency were able to put behind bars, specially those within their midst, in the past five years of the Aquino administration.

It looks like, the BoC is kind of trying to make up for their annual collection deficit, the Senator hinted.

Sadly, the bureau is seemingly trying to pass on the burden to the OFWs. As Marcos have cited:
Are they planning to impose taxes on balikbayan boxes to make up for their annual collection deficit? In bullying our OFWs, they managed to expose their own internal deficiencies. Ayusin muna nila ang bakuran nila dahil mas nakakapinsala ang koraspsyon sa loob ng BOC kesa sa mga balikbayan boxes na pinapadala ng mga lehitimong OFWs
"Recto to BOC: Monitor inspections of balikbayan boxes via CCTV" ~ (Sun Star Manila)

Meanwhile, Senator Ralph Recto proposed that BoC should purchase closed-circuit television or CCTV system to monitor its planned inspections of the balikbayan boxes.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza also had his take:
We owe our hardworking and productive countrymen a lot of gratitude for their taxes and remittances that are keeping the Philippine economy afloat. They should be accorded privileges and support – not the usual Customs harassment and razzle-dazzle.. Surely the new Lina doctrine on opening up OFWs’ balikbayan boxes sent to their families is no way to treat them, considering that we refer to them as our modern-day heroes
"I cannot support this intrusion into the hard-earned income of our OFWs. Stop this before it gets out of hand", Atienza added.

"CBCP official slams gov’t over plan to open balikbayan boxes"(Manila Bulletin)

Balanga, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of CBCP-ECMI, said:
As they open those boxes, they are exposing those hard earned goods for abuses. How will we know that not a single will be taken away? How about of planting of something that could be used against the sender?
This looks like one tough battle as the 2016 election approaches.

What are your takes?

Source: Philstar, Sun Star, Manila Bulletin, Politics.com.ph

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