MANILA (Mabuhay) — After the Bureau of Customs (BOC) drew flak for its plan to conduct physical inspections on balikbayan boxes, Malacañang said Wednesday that it is high time for Congress to review existing rules on these packages.
At a press briefing, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. welcomed Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto’s proposal to amend BOC Memorandum Circular No. 7990, which sets rules for OFW-sent packages.
In Senate Bill 2913, Recto particularly pushed for an increase the tax-exempt value of the contents of a balikbayan box to $2,000 from the present $500.
“Mainam na nakapaghain si Senator Recto dahil pinag-uusapan ang bagay na iyan. Matagal na panahon na rin simula noong nagtakda ng mga patakaran hinggil diyan,” Coloma told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
“Napapanahon na rin siguro na pag-aralan ng ating mga mambabatas kung ang ano mang pagbabago ang kinakailangan,” he added.
Coloma nevertheless said that the executive has yet to study Recto’s entire proposal, and to come up with a stand on the measure.
“Pag-aaralan namin ang panukala at titingnan ano ang pinakamakatwirang na posisyon na maaaring mapanindigan ng pamahalaan kapag nabasa na at nauwaan na namin ang buong panukala ni Senador Recto,” Coloma said.
Policies on balikbayan boxes drew public attention during the past days after the BOC’s controversial plan to inspect these packages in an attempt to counter illegal smuggling.
On Monday, Aquino directed the BOC to no longer push ahead with its plan, and instead to just inspect suspicious balikbayan boxes. (MNS)