OF the 149 total complaints received by the Department of Trade and Industry through its Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (DTI-PSB) on balikbayan boxes that came in by sea but were not delivered to their rightful owners or consignees, 37 or 25 percent of these complaints came from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while 31 or 21 percent came from the United Arab Emirates.
The other undelivered boxes came from the United States (22 cases, or 15 percent); Kuwait (19 cases, 13 percent); United Kingdom (11 cases at 5 percent) and Singapore (7 cases and 7 percent).
Lawyer Victorio Mario Dimagiba, DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) officer-in-charge, advised the OFWs in the countries mentioned to send their hard-earned balikbayan boxes to foreign consolidators which have agents or freight forwarders in the Philippines and are accredited by DTI to be certain that their cargoes will be received by their loved ones.
The nondelivery of balikbayan boxes usually occurs when incoming shipments are abandoned at the Philippine ports for failure of unscrupulous foreign consolidators to remit necessary funds to their Philippine agents for the delivery of cargoes to consignees,” Dimagiba explains.
Dimagiba said to avoid being victims of unscrupulous cargo forwarders, the OFWs must first check the list of DTI-accredited sea freight forwarders and monitor regular advisories and alerts at www.dti.gov.ph.
The DTI-PSB is now consolidating the complaints on undelivered balikbayan box shipments to the companies involved prior to its filing of formal charges with the Department of Justice and the courts.
In its advisory on January 10, 11 KSA-based foreign consolidators or principals are included on the list for not remitting the necessary funds to their Philippine agents for the release of their cargoes, which include balikbayan boxes.
These forwarders are: Caravan Cargo Agency; Cargo Net Worldwide Services formerly FAL-World Express Cargo; Global Cargo; Jonar Cargo; Kabalen Forwarders, North and South Express Cargo; PC Worldwide Cargo; Sir Cargo Forwarders, WRJ Freight Forwarders (A Division of Al-Zagel Cargo), Mohsen Cargo Services and Fil-Arab International Cargo.
The Philippine agents of these foreign consolidators—Megatop Express Cargo Forwarder; Manila Broker; J.J. Transglobal Brokerage; Jonar Cargo; RGC Green Logistics; Kabalen Forwarders; R&M Cargo Services; and Sir2Go Forwarders—are not accredited with the DTI and should not engage in the freight forwarding business. Meanwhile, some accredited companies—DXL International Freight Forwarder Inc. and ECFS International Forwarding Inc.—that are implicated in the complaints are now facing revocation of their accreditation with DTI.
Six UAE-based companies are also in the advisory due to nonremittance of funds for Philippine agents. They are Al Rodah Marine Cargo, Cityline Cargo, Dagupan Cargo Packaging Services, Express Link Cargo Services, Smooth Express and Grace Express Cargo. Also, some Philippine agents have been identified in the complaints, namely, Rodah Cargo Manila and VCG Customs Brokerage that are not accredited with DTI.
Also on the list are Aeroworld Logistics Phil. Inc. and D’ Winner Logistics Phils. Inc. that are DTI-accredited but their accreditation are being evaluated for revocation in view of the complaints.
The consistently high number of complaints on balikbayan box shipments coming from these countries since 2008 has prompted the DTI to conduct the road show on balikbayan box shipments in Dubai, UAE, on November 12 to 13, 2013; and in Riyadh, KSA on November 15, 2013. A similar road show was also held in Hong Kong and Singapore on October 19 to 21, 2013, and October 25 to 27, 2013, respectively.
The road show is part of the awareness campaigns, dialogues and consultations with overseas Filipinos as individuals, associations or organizations, embassy and consular officials, foreign service officers, overseas welfare officers and legitimate freight forwarders on the problem on hand, fraudulent activities, actual and resolved cases, assistance programs and promotional materials.
Complaints on pilferage or lost item and nondelivery of balikbayan boxes may be filed at the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau at 2nd Floor, DTI Building 361 Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City; or sent through facsimile number (632) 751.3305 or email email@example.com. Call DTI Direct (632) 751.3330 for assistance.