People consider the OFWs or Overseas Filipino Workers as the modern day heroes. This is because of the fact that they leave their families here and miss out on their children’s or family’s special occasions in exchange for a better future. On the other hand, OFWs remittances served a huge role on our stabilized economy. With that, the government thought of giving them a P10,000 tax-exempt limit for their “balikbayan” boxes or pasalubongs.
A typical pasalubong box consists of food, toiletries, and/or branded items such as bags, shoes, gadgets, among others. The word “pasalubong” is the Filipino term for bringing gifts from their destination to their loved ones back home.
As luck would have it, the Senate is now more generous by raising the balikbayan tax-exempt value to P150,000. As reported by the Inquirer.net, the bill that would modernise the Bureau of Customs (BoC), as well as, raise the tax-exempt value from P10,000 to P150,000, has been approved on its third and final reading.
Senator Sonny Angara is one of the sponsors of the said Bill. (Photo:metrocebu.com)
It was emphasised in the report that the Senate Bill No. 2968, also known as, Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) was approved by the chamber Monday. As quoted in the article, the Chairman on ways and means and sponsor of the bill, Sen. Sonny Angara said, that this initiative aims to amend the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) in compliance with the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).
He further explained that this will increase integrity, transparency, and simplify procedures in BoC:
- increase the de minimis value – de minimis means small items. It will also increase from P10 – P10,000
- raise the tax exemption ceiling for packages sent by balikbayans
- raise the tax exemption ceiling for packages for returning residents
- provide harsher penalties for smuggling
Furthermore, he said that values proposed might change every three years and confirms that during times of calamity, donation and relief goods will also be “duty and tax-free.”
Upgrading the Process and Procedures
Just like everyone else, Senator Sonny Angara also thinks and believes that this Senate Bill will surely help customs police authority, customs jurisdiction and customs control, display transparency and integrity.
Meantime, Senator Franklin Drilon also shared on a statement that upgrading the current BoC systems to electronic processing would demonstrate a faster, more convenient, and more effective importation and exportation procedures, especially for the public.
Senator Angara was quoted in the Inquirer article and he said:: “We want to overhaul and modernise the bureau which has long been perceived as one of the most corrupt and underperforming government agencies in the country.”
I say, “I think it’s about time.”
This is indeed good news for all the balikbayans and/or Overseas Filipino Workers out there!
What do you think of the newly approved Bill? Share your thoughts below.