CONSUMER WELFARE & BUSINESS REGULATION

Balikbayan Boxes
  • What is the typical transport flow of balikbayan boxes? 
Below is a Typical Transport Flow of Balikbayan Boxes:
 
 

Overseas Filipinos usually engage the services of a foreign consolidator/ principal sea freight forwarder in sending their balikbayan boxes to their relatives in the Philippines. 
 
The foreign consolidators collect door-to-door charges from the OFWs as senders.  These charges include the fees for a shipping line/ carrier, terminal storage, duties and charges, and the accredited Philippine agent/ local freight forwarder. 
 
The balikbayan boxes are delivered by accredited Philippine agents/ local sea freight forwarders to consignees or recipients in the Philippines. 
  • What is the problem/ issue on the delivery of balikbayan boxes? 
There are instances when foreign consolidators/ principal sea freight forwarders do not remit a portion of their collected charges to their accredited Philippine agents/ local sea freight forwarders to prompt the release and delivery of balikbayan boxes.
 
When necessary funds are not remitted to accredited Philippine agent/ local freight forwarders, the shipments or the balikbayan boxes with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will not be released and will not be delivered to consignees/ recipients.  
  • What office/ agency addresses the said problem/ issue? 
The Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) operates the accreditation scheme for sea freight forwarders based on its Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 2005.  
 
The DTI-PSB holds both the foreign consolidator/principal and its Philippine agent/freight forwarder jointly and severally liable for the delivery of cargoes to the consignees.
  • What are the approaches to the issue of undelivered balikbayan boxes?
Prevention (How to Avoid Being Victimized)
Enhanced Information Campaign
Advisories/Alerts
Tips on Sending Balikbayan Boxes
Blacklist
OWWA, BOC, DFA, Embassies/Consulates, OFW Orgs, DTI Commercial Attaches, DTI Regional/Provincial Offices, Consumer Agencies of Foreign Governments, Freight Forwarders’ Regulatory Agencies of Foreign Government.
 
Cure (Assistance to Complainants/Victims)
Formal Charges/Sanctions versus Erring Freight Forwarders (both local and foreign)
Endorsement to Law Enforcement Authorities
Coordination with the Bureau of Customs and other concerned government agencies.
  • If the Philippine agent/freight forwarder holds delivery of balikbayan boxes because its foreign principal fails to remit the necessary funds therefore, what can DTI-PSB do to help the consignees?
DTI-PSB shall order the Philippine agent/freight forwarder to deliver the cargoes to their rightful owners (consignees) without any delay. Failure of the Philippine agent/freight forwarder to deliver the cargoes immediately shall constrain DTI-PSB to file a Formal Charge against the freight forwarder for the revocation of its accreditation (if the forwarder is PSB-accredited) or a Cease and Desist Order (if the forwarder is not PSB-accredited) as well as applicable fines as provided in PSB A.O. 6, series of 2005.  
  • How does one file a complaint with DTI-PSB? 
Complainants should submit a written complaint with documentary evidences such as official receipts, cargo receipts, bills of lading, shippers’ declaration and way bills. They can file their complaints either at PSB Office or fax at (02) 751.3305 or email at dti_psb@yahoo.com.ph or call (02) DTI Direct at 751.3330. 
  • What sanctions/penalties may DTI-PSB impose on freight forwarders violating PSB policies on balikbayan boxes? 
PSB may impose monetary fines, suspension or cancellation of accreditation pursuant to A.O. No. 6 series of 2005.  
  • What are the common complaints received by DTI-PSB regarding balikbayan boxes?
Most of the complaints on balikbayan boxes are:
undelivered balikbayan boxes
pilferage of balikbayan box
overcharging
damaged cargo
  • How much are the shipping rates of balikbayan boxes? How long is the transit time from origin to destination?
There are various rates for shipping of different sizes of balikbayan boxes. Below is a sample rate for a standard size balikbayan box (24”x24”x24”) and transit time from origin to destination.
 
 
  • Where are most balikbayan boxes coming from?
OFWs and other Filipinos living abroad from these countries have the large number of packages sent through balikbayan boxes.
1. Middle East (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar)
2. USA
3. Hong Kong
4. Singapore
5. Italy
6. UK
7. Korea
8. Taiwan
 
  • What items that should not be sent through balikbayan boxes?
The following items are not allowed to be included in the box: 
1. currencies, checks, money orders and traveler’s checks
2. jewelries  
3. firearms, ammunitions and explosives
4. prohibited drugs and other substances
5. pornographic materials, gambling cards and toy guns
6. pirated products i.e. dvd, cd, tapes, etc
7. items of commercial quantity
 
  • What are the tips in shipping balikbayan boxes?
The following are few tips to ensure that your balikbayan boxes reach its destination. 
 
1. Organize the contents of your balikbayan box.
 
2. Book your balikbayan boxes only with PSB-accredited sea cargo consolidator / freight forwarder companies with clean records. 
 
3. Be wary of exceptionally very low rates. 
 
4. Declare the contents of your shipment.
 
5. Secure transport documents such as cargo receipt (or Official Receipt) for fees paid, and Bill of Lading – a document issued by a transportation carrier to the shipper as proof that they have received the cargo shipment and have placed them on board a particular vessel for delivery to a particular destination. 
 
6. Get the name and contact details of the forwarder’s agent in the Philippines. 
 
7. Monitor the movement of your cargo from origin to destination to make sure it is being shipped and delivered. 
 
8. Inform your consignee to check your cargo with the Philippine freight forwarding agent even before it arrives. 
 
9. If you encounter pilferage or lost item, or non-delivery, file an immediate claim or complaint with the freight forwarder’s customer service. You may also lodge your complaint directly to the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau at 2nd Floor, DTI Bldg., 361 Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City or fax at (02) 751.3305 or email at dti_psb@yahoo.com.ph or call DTI-Direct (02) 751.3330 or 0917.834.3330 for assistance.
 
For more information, call DTI Direct at (02) 751.3330.
 
Friday, April 25, 2014 1:06PM GMT+8

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