Monday, July 12, 2010

Balikbayan Boxes and Corruption

Dear insansapinas,

 I used to send balikbayan boxes when I was in California. Cargo forwarders are dime a dozen in that state. They pick up your boxes, deliver them to your relatives in the Philippines and send you a photo of your barefoot relative receiving the box. When I found out that the people back home prefer the local carne norte over the imported corned beef, I stopped sending home a box. Mas masarap nga ang carne norte diyan. Yong galing dito minsan lasang sapal na nilagyan mo ng kulay at lasa. yuk yukyuk

Back to the topic.

Thousand Filipinos are demanding for refund for the balikbayan boxes they sent early this year. The boxes never reached their destinations. Why?

‘Manila broker falsely declared contents’
ACE Cargo officials in its headquarters in Hayward, California said about 11,000 boxes from California, Nevada and Washington have been put on hold by the Philippine Bureau of Customs since January.
Cheryl Garcia, business development officer for ACE cargo said one of their brokers in Manila tried to save money on taxes by wrongly declaring the contents of some boxes as electronics, instead of personal effects and household items, which are taxed at a higher rate.
“In layman’s terms, para kaming smugglers,” explained Garcia.
This is what you call technical smuggling. This is a rampant practice not only among  balikbayan movers/forwarders but also of big time importers and exporters. So we have a lot of revenues lost in th Customs. That's corruption.

How do they make it possible? Well for one, you have the custom broker who is tasked to have the goods released by declaring its contents and paying custom duties and taxes. With so many balikbayan boxes in a container, Customs people do not have to open every box  that's inside. They sample one or two, particularly those which were the last to be loaded in the container. 

Pag magaling kang custom broker, madali mong maiparelease ang mga items. Yan ang sinasabing RIGHT CONNECT.

New Customs chief defends self, vows level playing field

Newly appointed Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez

is getting brickbats for his appointment in the bureau because of his employment background as former president of the country's dominant cargo-handling firm, in what critics say as a ''conflict of interest'' for accepting the job.
But Alvarez defended himself against accusations that he would give due preference to logistic company, Airfreight 2100 Inc. or Air21, the sole licensee of Federal Express (FedEx) in the Philippines, saying that he would ''level the playing field'' under his helm.
 Critics said his appointment does not speak well of the new governance and reform espoused by President Benigno ''Noynoy'' Aquino III, given his connections with Air21 and FedEx that belong to the Lina Group of Companies.


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