Good news for OFWs: Aquino signs new law on Balikbayan Box tax exemptions!

To our modern heroes far away from home, a new law in favor of you has been signed! Now, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will be able to send up to three 150,000 worth of Balikbayan boxes tax and duty free!

Days before officially stepping down from his office on July 30, President Aquino signed Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

Here is an overview of the law:

Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA),


CMTA an opportunity for BOC

The Bureau of Customs has been continuously criticized by OFWs and their families due to numerous instances where careless handling of balikbayan boxes lead to damaging the items.

And there are reports of customs officers bribing families by asking money in exchange of releasing withheld boxes or opening the Balikbayan boxes to take items from it.

While negative feedback on the Agency has been rampant, the signing of CMTA law sheds light and provides opportunity for better BOC service, according to some lawmakers.

Re-elected Marikina representative Miro Quimbo, one of the authors of the passed bill noted that the CMTA is actually ‘an enabling law that effectively makes the BOC shift its emphasis into a border control agency instead of a revenue center’.

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina also said that the new law will help the BOC improve its revenue while preventing corruption and technical smuggling.

“Emphasizing the ease of trade through streamlined processes, the CMTA will establish the requisite foundation for a cashless, faceless and paperless environment in Customs, reducing corruption and technical smuggling that will result to enhanced revenues,” he said. (Kai Vicho)

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