Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz (Photo courtesy of BOC)

MANILA – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday assured that some 8,000 unpaid and abandoned balikbayan boxes of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will soon be delivered to their rightful owners, in time for the holiday season.

Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz assured that all these packages that were shipped by Island Kabayan Express Cargo LLC and Win Balikbayan Cargo LLC (All Win) would be delivered within one to four weeks, depending on the location of the recipient.

The BOC added that the delivery would take one week for Metro Manila, one to two weeks for Luzon, and two weeks to one month for Visayas and Mindanao.

Ruiz led the inspection of the balikbayan boxes at the Port Net logistics warehouse in Sta. Ana, Manila on Thursday.

For those who will claim their packages, claimants are required to present any government ID, copy of the receipt and/or authorization letter if boxes will be received by their representative.

The BOC chief said they will not collect any fee for the delivery of balikbayan boxes.

Aside from the warehouse in Manila, the other boxes are also at the Hobart warehouse in Balagtas, Bulacan. The balikbayan boxes remained unclaimed for seven months.

Meanwhile, the bureau continues to develop policy measures to thwart similar balikbayan boxes schemes of unscrupulous consolidators abroad.

The BOC recently met with the Department of Trade and Industry-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) to discuss collaborative measures.

Among these are the creation of a Balikbayan Box One-Stop-Shop and the drafting of an inter-agency agreement between the DTI, the Department of Migrant Workers, and the BOC to stop similar illicit activities.

It also recommended reviewing and amending the Philippine Shippers' Bureau (PSB) - Administrative Order No. 06 series of 2005; reinstituting the accreditation of deconsolidators with BOC, and the filing of appropriate cases against errant freight forwarders. (PNA)