MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday stopped the embattled Bureau of Customs (BOC) from conducting random physical inspections of balikbayan boxes.
Aquino made the orders following his meeting this afternoon with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Customs Commissioner Albert Lina, the BOC said in a statement sent to Palace reporters on Monday evening.
“The president has instructed the Bureau of Customs to immediately do the following: First, there will be no random or arbitrary physical inspection of balikbayan boxes. Moving forward, all containers of balikbayan boxes should undergo mandatory x-ray and K-9 examination–at no cost to the sender or the OFW (overseas Filipino worker),” the BOC said.
The agency said physical inspections will be conducted “only in cases where there are derogatory findings” from the x-ray or K-9 examination.
In the event of a physical inspection, the BOC will request the presence of an Overseas Workers Welfare Administration representative or a designated officer of an OFW association.