BALANGA City: Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Diocese of Balanga on Friday asked the Bureau of Customs to do more than just say they are sorry for focusing anti-smuggling campaign on monitoring Balikbayan boxes.
The prelate asked Customs officials to inspect warehouses and port areas for smuggled luxury items and commodities.
He also encouraged them to show more compassion towards overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Bishop Santos issued the statement after Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina issued an apology during a Senate hearing.
“With that expression of ‘sorry’ of the BOC chief, we have proven that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines—Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) was right in saying that there are no drugs nor smuggled goods in those balikbayan boxes,” Santos said.
“What are inside those balikbayan boxes are personal goods, not taxable, but usable and edible things which manifest the love and care of our OFWs for their families,” added Santos, CBCP-ECMI chairman.
He said that it was admitted by BOC in the hearing that there was not even a single box with drugs or disassembled motorcycle parts. “This showed that our OFWs are honest and truly, heroes. They will never send something that will make their loved ones suffer,” Santos said.
He claimed that the government is not taking care of the OFWs, because the authorities meddle with their gifts for their loved ones, which is disheartening and shows lack of concern for their plight.
“Focus instead on free ports and open those warehouses and sealed container vans where commodities inside are taxable. There is no Ferrari or Porsche inside balikbayan boxes,” Santos said.