Watch: OFW Balikbayan Boxes Discovered Being Sold in the Streets (Video)
While many OFWs complained about the new random-checking rule of balikbayan boxes by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and upcoming additional taxes, a forwarding company is selling some balikbayan boxes to small business owners. The video below shows a woman selling the items from the boxes, instead of the OFW families here in the Philippines receiving them.
According to a report from ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol, their news team went to the streets of Silverio compound in Parañaque, where they saw some closed balikbayan boxes. The store owner told the reporter that they bought them from DXL International Freight Forwarder. She said the big boxes cost P6,000 while the smaller ones cost P5,000.
As you can see on the news video, the items being sold include canned goods, rubber shoes and beauty products. Most of the balikbayan boxes came from Saudi Arabia and even bear the names of the sender and the receipt, and home address. The store owner added the forwarder told her that the company already informed the package senders.
In an interview with Archia Legarda of DXL International Freight Forwarder, he said that the OFWs who owned those balikbayan boxes have more than one year debt to their company. He added that they have given an ultimatum to the package owners, and that those items are already for disposal, emphasizing that the company should recover from their losses.
However, the news team contacted Rosita Origora, an OFW from Saudi Arabia and one of the owners of the balikbayan boxes being sold. According to her, she sent the package last April and that she personally paid for it before she left from Jeddah. The female OFW stressed out that she badly needed the package, and that she worked hard for it.
Meanwhile, the The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) strongly advised the public to be very careful in dealing with forwarders. DTI Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said OFWs should make sure that they have proof that the forwarder informed them before their balikbayan boxes. Otherwise, they can file a case against the company.