A Filipino boy will be sad this Christmas because he can’t take home his package from his dad who is working abroad. And no, this is not because he is not a good boy and Santa Claus forgot his name. This is because of the alleged unreasonably high Customs fees, which are even higher than the actual cost of the items.
According to a Facebook post by Dana Porcalla, (the boy’s mother), she and her son were in a post office in Domestic Road, Pasay City to get the Christmas package from the boy’s father. Soon after, she was handed a document stating that she needs to pay P2,300 (around $51.4) before they can bring it home.
Ms. Porcalla noted that the item only costs $40. Apparently, she was told that the Custom fees include postal fee, import processing fee, Customs documentary stamp, and value-added tax. Below is her full Facebook post regarding the issue:
i just wana share this to ya’ll. we were in the post office, the one at domestic road in pasay, to get my son’s package that was sent to him by his dad that he hasn’t seen for so long. I was asked to go inside this room to inspect his package in front of the customs officer then was asked to seat out for a while and wait for my name to be called. I did, and it only took like well over 2 mins. for them to call out my name. They handed me this paper which had the computation of the stuff i needed to pay.. and TO MY SURPRISE!!! they asked me to pay freakin’ 2300 pesos and it has a break down with all these fees that was very unfamiliar: postal fee, import processing fee, customs documentary stamp, plus the vat. for your info; this package is a GIFT from his father, we aint selling them plus the stuff inside, all together, sums only to 40 USD.. cheaper than what these freakin’ customs examiners are askin from us.. a lot of other people there were complaining as well. We went home without my son’s package that he has been waiting for for almost a year because they wouldn’t give it to me unless i pay the said amount, which I wasnt stupid enough to do… id rather buy them out here then. So my son went home crying coz he didnt get the toys that he has been waiting for. I hope you share this and voice out how heartless these people in the pasay post office are…
Meanwhile, on a post on the official Facebook page of the Philippine Post Office, PHLPost Postmaster General Josie Dela Cruz cleared that the personnel in the Central Mail Exchange where the crying boy did not receive his Christmas package, are not their employees.
Instead, she said they are Custom examiners assigned in the Post Office, and that anyone who has complains with the said fees should go to the Bureau of Customs.
Incidentally, this issue is not new especially for families of OFWs. From time to time, many people have complaining about the Customs fees. In fact, on the Facebook post by Ms. Porcalla alone, tons of commenters are sharing similar sad stories.
In line with this, TN has been trying to contact BIR Commissioner Kim Henares to comment on this issue but our calls were never answered. On the other hand, former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casino said that it’s time to review the paying scheme imposed by the Bureau of Customs.
“Hindi bale sanang mataas ang tax kung maayos ang palakad. Ang problema, puro corruption ang marirnig mo kaliwa’t kanan lalo na sa Customs. Nakakalungkot na pati mga batang umaasang may regalo ngayong Pasko galling sa kanilang magulang na nagtatrabaho abroad, nadadamay.” Casino told TN.
(It’s fine to impose higher taxes as long as the management is good. The problem is that we’re always hearing corruption left and right especially in the Customs. It’s sad that even children who expect Christmas package from their parents working abroad are suffering.)