Mar Roxas’ future may be in a tampered balikbayan box


(The print edition of our editorial yesterday begins with a sentence containing the grave error of mistaking Customs Chief Bert Lina for his brother former senator Joey Lina. We deeply apologize for that error which we corrected in the online edition.)

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THAT explosion you may have heard over the weekend was not a tragic industrial accident or a fireworks display gone horribly wrong, but the near-instant venting of pure rage on the part of millions of Filipinos, all of it directed – and absolutely deservedly so – at one agency, the Bureau of Customs, and its chief Alberto Lina.

Last Friday, the BOC announced that it would begin in October “random inspections” of “balikbayan boxes” – boxes containing gifts and personal effects, sent home by OFWs to their families – in an effort to eliminate technical smuggling. The notification, as reported by several news outlets, also implied that additional fees would be levied on balikbayan boxes to cover the costs of the additional inspections.

Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, who was trotted out by the Palace on Saturday in a futile attempt at damage control, said in an interview on state-run Radio ng Bayan that the new program would not result in delays in packages being delivered to eager families and “that the property inside should be respected as well.”

Valte’s reassurances failed, as they usually do, to assuage an aggrieved public, and in the past couple of days OFWs and their families, through a number of advocacy groups, have called for boycotts against the government through withholding remittances and balikbayan boxes. That would hit the government where it hurts the most by taking a bite out of its revenues, but unfortunately, such protests never amount to anything – the harm done to the government is minor compared to the hardship placed on families who need their monthly remittances and small pleasures of foreign-bought chocolates and canned meat products, and most OFWs understandably will not allow their families to suffer to make a political point.

Bad news for Mar
It is entirely appropriate that the Aquino Administration be punished for its naked greed and general stupidity. Quite apart from being simply the latest act in a pattern of callous disregard for OFW welfare and concerns under President BS Aquino 3rd, the BOC decision regarding balikbayan boxes is grossly incompetent management. Any technical smuggling that is carried out using balikbayan boxes is utterly dwarfed by large-scale smuggling that continues, seemingly unabated; yet to Alberto Lina, tripping over a peso to try to pick up a centavo apparently sounds like a good idea.

The good news is that OFWs and their families will not have to consider bearing additional hardships in order to make the regime suffer the consequences it deserves for its gross insensitivity and lack of critical thinking. In allowing the BOC to issue the spiteful ruling on balikbayan box inspections, the administration may have just cut the legs from under Liberal Party standard-bearer and erstwhile “Aquino 2.0” Mar Roxas. As the administration puppet candidate, Roxas owns every bad decision his backers make, and this latest one puts him in an extremely uncomfortable position. If he supports it – which he should, as a Loyal Party Man – he risks the ire of millions of OFWs and millions more of their families and friends, ire that will be expressed in the form of votes for somebody else. If he repudiates the BOC’s move – which he should, if he has any wish to convince others that he is a normal human with a basic sense of decency and passing familiarity with rational policy management – then he instantly turns the LP and its electoral machine against him; after all, customs collections are (allegedly) a key source of campaign financing.

So what’s it going to be, Mar? Which do you choose, the hard or soft option? Stick with your party, and you’ll lose. Stick with the people and your party will see to it that you lose, but at least you’ll go down with a modicum of self-respect and compassion.


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  1. Presidential Candidate Mar Roxas did not call for a Press Conference that he is opposed to the idea of BOC Commissioner.
    If he did, perhaps, some OFW families would support him.

  2. Even the OFW families are mad at BOY MURA.

    Bahala kayo sa Balikbayan box nyo!!!!


  3. OFW’s will not VOTE for MAR and his brainless candidates. Just imagine what will happen to our country if we OFWs will vote for people in the like of DE LIMA, DRILLON, TRILLANES of LP, Magiging plastic capital of the world ang Pilipinas. Kaplastikan lamang a pakita ng mga ito. Kaya hinihinggi sa aking kapwa OFW and kanilang familia ang mga LP, Ang akala nila
    tayong mga OFW ay umaabuso kung tayo ay nagpapadala ng balik bayan box, kasi gawain nila. Wala silang inaatupag kundi ang PORK,

    • Tama ka Banyagangpinoy puro abuso ang ginagawa nila sa mga OFW na kagaya natin. wala silang magawa sa smuggler ng mga farm products at mga mamahaling kotse tapos ay tayo ang pagbibintangan na mga smuggler daw.

    • bakit kayo pumunta sa ibang bansa para magtrabo? ano ba ang dahilan? cguro ang sagot dahil sa mga kurakot sa gobyerno? basahin mo sa mga artikulo kung sino2x ang mga kurakot na opisyal tapos sila ang iboboto mo? Nako mas lalong hindi mo gustong umiwi sa Pinas…

  4. Manny Alintana on

    Di ba ito ang gusto nyo? Boto kayo ng boto sa mga produkto ng yellow media tapos ngayon reklamo kayo ng reklamo. Ilang dekada na ba kayong nag-eekperimento? Kung sino pa yung mas matino e winawasak kung hindi pinapatalsik. Sige pa, iboto naman si mar o si grace at ng lalo na tayong magkalintik lintik.

  5. eduardo a. ballon on

    Panahon na po para ipakita natin sa pamahalaang ito ang lakas ng nagkakaisang OFW,Tandaan po ninyo sa susunod na eleksyon, iboto ninyo maski sino wag lang po ang kandidato ng LP dahil pahirap sila sa mga OFW,!!!!!!

    • cegurado ka ba sa iyong iboboto? wag kang magsalita nang patapos hindi ka pa nakakasiguro kung sino man ang pumalit sa administrasyon. What if sa administrsyon, INSPECTION lang, kung mananalo ang iyong iboboto at ang gawin ng inyong mga balikbayan boxes ay magbayad kayo ng malaking TAX halos katumbas sa iyong ipinapadala? reklamo kana naman? AYOS BA TAYO DYAN TSONG? ORAYYYYYT.

  6. This is what happens when you put a businessman as the head of the most corruptible agency in the government.

    Also, sana these guys will update the imposed limits on tax-free items for OFW’s. 10,000 pesos?? Really?

  7. Try lang ituloy ng BOC ang pagbulatlat sa Balikbayan Box,,kawawang Mar,, bokya na naman..

  8. alvin stamaria on

    Callous & Inept Government….CALLOUS because they have no respect for us OFWs’, we endured the agony of long separation & loneliness from our families & we remit our hard earned money to our families which in turn help our economy..INEPT because they are OFW sending goods, foodstuffs as present our a BALIKBAYAN BOX, not in a CONTAINER VAN…VANS that can accomodate items worth millions of dollars. And BOC wants to sample OFW BALIKBAYAN BOX to showcase they are after technical smugglers..YOU people have the nerve to categorize us in that bracket…catch your own BOC corrupt personnel & the big time smugglers before you go after us….YOU KNOW who the smugglers are…..& their contact in BOC..

  9. Our OFW send back 15billion $ every year to the Philippines they pay taxes before they leave PH to work abroad…ilan lang po ito sa mga ginagawa ng OFW sa ating bansa.
    Ang mga bagong bayani ng philipinas…..
    Ang gobyerno natin wala naman nagagawa sa mga bigtime smugglers sa bansa eh kasi nakikinabang ang mga nakaupo sa mga smugglers. Saang bansa sa mundo na basura libre pinasok sa PH? napakaliit lang po na respeto sa mga OFW natin ang dami x-ray at scanner na makakakita sa BB na di kailangan buksan. BOC chief natin mukha di nag iisip bago gumawa desisyon. Wag napo natin iboto…ang mga LP Mr. Mar Roxas running for president pls. make a stand on the issue. OFW

    • Willie Enriquez on

      Its timely to exposed on what is really going with those Balikbayan Boxes. We used to send around a dozen in a year. To some relatives in the Philippines, And lately we were wondering how come most of the boxes were opened. And the used tools that can be used to fix the old house left behind were gone from the boxes. Some of it cost only $60 and $20 when new. Since, We have some extra tools we decided to give it to some of our relatives back home. And what happened it was no longer in the box when it was delivered to the recipient. And there was no contraband inside the boxes. But, Most of those canned goods were pilfered too. and the are only 2 or 3 pieces of a kind and hardly a dozen in one boxes. As it is mixed with used clothings. But, Almost half the box contents were gone.

  10. Mar Roxas’ future may be in a tampered balikbayan box.
    If that tampared BB will keep the sticky fingers of Binay away from the treasury, I will go for it.

    • bakit naman? Ba-ru-da-BOODLE-FIGHT ang pag-asa ng bayan, dagdag pa ang One-to-SAWA, asenso talaga, ‘di ba?

  11. if those balikbayan boxes were being pilferred before, how much more now that it will be subjected to “authorized inspection”by BOC personel of questionable integrity!

    • Willie Enriquez on

      That’s what the Rich Cojuangcos don’t get it. They never understand how some Filipinos worked hard abroad. Being away from your loved ones is one things you have to bear. While others Gagos in the Government Services are touring the world on people money. Before, Commissioner Lina of the BOC draft a source of further revenues for the Philippine Government or likely it be used to fund another scammed similar to the Pork and Barrel. They need to squeezed even the poor Juans that also being beaten by some Arabian Boss.
      And they have rattled more Juans and Marias. Poor pnoy-noy

  12. Tricycle Driver on

    Mar Roxas, as we all have known already, does not possess yagbols of even the tiniest, microscopic kind. But I’ll bet that he will not address this issue unless pushed to the wall. And, he will back Lina when he finally has no other option but to speak up.

    • Willie Enriquez on

      If you want those people to lead the Philippines. They should be tried with there willingness to Die for the Country and it’s people. Firstly…We should find out who among the Elite Leaders willing to sacrifice their lives in the Jungle of Jolo Sulu for (3) Three months just for them to feel the miserable lives of some families living in the South. No bodyguard allowed only their Guts to live and lead in fairness. Let those future leaders test their willingness
      without the help of the AFP nor the Rebel returnees. Show your Willingness to set an example. You can bring Com. Alberto Lina to sulu. We know the Biazon
      once been there. Be a Man of all Mr. lina and you can sleep better and your family for good. Like your boss who stayed at the Southcom village and made the people think that he is a brave man. Those 44 lost their lives…Why d’pnoy won’t attacked the MILF the way he ruined the MNLF. Destroy all the Pnoys the way they demolished the person of Manny Pacquiao abroad.

  13. Voice what you think Mar!!! Don’t keep silent at this time when BOC is harassing & bullying OFWs….

    • DO NOT VOTE FOR ANY OF THE LP (LAPIANG PORK) AND ITS ALLIES CANDIDATES THIS COMING ELECTIONS. by doing so, you can help cut the cord of corruption and plunder of the treasury thru the pork barrel or dap or pdaf or lump sum that the LPs are writing on the budget. DO NOT FORGET THAT THE MONEY FOR THE BUDGET IS OUR TAX AND IF THRU BORROWED FUNDS, WE WILL PAY FOR IT LATER. what boggles the mind is that with all the trillion peso pork of boy sisi at the fund solicitation by the dotc, gusto pang tirahin ang mga balikbayan boxes from the expats and ofws. SAAN KAYA KUMUKUHA NG KAPAL NG MUKHA ANG MGA ITO??

    • Willie Enriquez on

      Do you think the Filipinos will vote twice for the LP this coming Presidential Elections ??? We hope not…Unless they have someone like the late Singaporean Pres. Lee Kuan Yew. I don’t think Mar has that quality similar to the said leader. Otherwise, Philippine will be the tiger of Asia in terms of Economic Progress in the region. I thought Pnoy might one of them. But now its hard to believe that the Philippine will never find an Honest Leader the like of late Pres. Lee Kuan Yew. And corruption is always the order of the day by any dishonest candidate or the future leaders.

  14. Our entire family is against Binay’s presidency, and now I guess we have to support another candidate other than LP’s bearer also. We are less than 20 voters in the family, but I am sure with other millions of OFW and their families are now having the same sentiment….your guess is right…

  15. The main concern of us OFWs is THEFT. When a BOC staff sees a Gucci bag when he opens a balikbayan box, he will declare it as taxable…. and when the poor recipient cannot pay, where does the Gucci bag go?? It goes to the BOC staff!

    • And the Gucci bag will appear as claimed on record.

      Also, another concern is everything will be at the discretion of BoC with no oversight. They pick which ones to open, which ones to tax.. no standardization. Transparency BS and ang lakas pa ng loob magsabi na if OFW’s have nothing to hide.

      In the end, yung mga pinapadala thru Lina’s courier companies will not be touched.

  16. MAR byitself is already a bad news..with other monkeys riding his back lately not to mention Pnoy with by his association condemns him in 2016. Plus Mommy Roxas and Madam K already parading their “other side of vote MAR please or else”. Mar should know by now that the most people that brought malacanang to its tatters are all ladies, direct or indirect. JDC does not want ladies controlling the house…this is through the guise of pretending JDC is the Alpha Male donning apron..just fo the sake. So aside from this BOC Balikbayan Box debacle, please Mar tell your ladies to wear masks…halatang-halata na gusto ng tumira sa palasyo ( atat na atat na ba ). about Miss Z, will she be quiet?