In his Facebook account, Rivera wrote a letter to Cpt. Nicanor E. Faeldon, Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs.
Rivera's purpose was to ask Faeldon to reconsider their last procedure on balikbayan boxes coming from th overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
He cited President Rodrigo Duterte's earlier statements to no give OFWs a hard time. Asking to provide receipts for every single content of their packages is not an easy thing to do because of those items were collected for a long time by the OFWs. The receipts may be neither gone or were just email sent, looking for those might take forever. Not to mention the items given to them by their employers, those does not have any receipts at all.
Moreover, Rivera pointed out if revenue is what the BOC is looking for, they won't be able to get that from OFWs.
He listed two of his objections. First, how does balikbayan boxes valuation determined, if it will depend on the customs officer then the valuation will not be consistent and huge possibility of abuse. Second, there's a need to provide a photocopy of passport before sending 'padala' or packages. Do the BOC know that domestic helpers in Saudi are not in possession of their passports? How will they be able to send?
Rivera suggested to just focus on large importers who often get away from paying their taxis and tariffs. That's where revenue lies, not to the hardworking OFWs who chose to serve and work in a foreign country for a better income.
Finally he said, "Sana po magbago ang isip ninyo. Kasi, baka kami ang magbago ng isip sa inyo."
Read his letter below:
The BOC has a new regulation on balikbayan boxes where it requires a detailed list of the contents.
According to the BOC, their new rule is for the welfare and safety of OFWs. They want to protect the hard-earned valuables of the domestic helpers so that it will arrive to their love ones problem-free.
They pointed out that old and cheap items doesn't need to have receipts. Only the ones which are new and expensive. This is to make sure that OFWs will not abuse the privelege of tax-free balikbayan boxes that are not exceeding to P150,000 worth of content.
This new regulation will also be able to prevent any smuggled goods or contrabands.
"It’s just common sense because if they are fooling us, and they are sending 20 MacBook Air, they should pay their tax and duties," BOC-CMTA project manager Althea Acas said.
Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon reminded OFWs, “Let me repeat, you itemize it.”
"Even though you it took you one day to fill it [balikbayan box] it will not take you an hour to write down what you placed inside since it’s only one box," he added.