THE Bureau of Customs warned returning Overseas Filipino Workers, especially this holiday season, not to bring-in packages with unknown items or of commercial quantities saying they could be held legally liable.
The warning was issued by the authorities as the holiday season traditionally brings an increase in goods traffic, especially those brought by OFWs. It has also been observed that some “unscrupulous individuals” are taking advantage of the OFWs generosity by asking them to bring either taxable items in large quantities or illegal items knowing that they are exempted from routine examination and inspection.
“We are expecting thousands of returning OFWs and ‘balikbayans’ this Christmas holiday from around the globe. As port courtesy, OFWs luggage will be excluded from examination and inspection unless there are commercial goods and illegal items such as guns, drugs,” Customs District III Collector Ed Macabeo said.
Macabeo, however, warned that the custom’s courtesy policy is subject to change anytime. He urged the OFWs to carry their own luggage and not to accept things from persons they did not know personally.
“These are the people who could will put them (the OFWs) at risk,” Macabeo explained.
Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal instructed his terminal managers to ensure the safe, reliable and convenient operations at all Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals, where thousands of OFWs and balikbayans are expected to arrive this Christmas.
Terminals 1 and 3 managers Dante Basanta and Ric Medalla, respectively, said their personnel are already in place to welcome thousands of passengers on the second week of the month.
Airline officials, meantime, were also asked to assist their passengers regarding the left-behind luggage from the point of origin.