P3B to P5B lost yearly to balikbayan box smuggling—BoC
The government is losing an estimated P3 billion to P5 billion a year from balikbayan boxes that were not inspected by the Bureau of Customs (BoC), Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina told a Senate hearing on Thursday.
“Humigit-kumulang sa pag aaral namin ilang bilyong piso ang nawawala sa atin, estimated lang po yan,” Lina said, responding to queries of Senator Grace Poe during a joint hearing in the Senate.
“Pero sabihin na natin sa isang buwan o kaya sa isang taon, huwag na isama yung mga nakalipas na panahon?” Poe asked.
“Ang estima po namin po nasa P3 billion to P5 billion,” the Customs chief said.
Based on the BoC’s estimate, it would appear that P250 million to P416 million are lost monthly through smuggling using balikbayan boxes. That is equivalent to P8.2 million up to P13.7 daily loses.
The latest estimate is so much higher than the P600 million a year, or P50 million a month, or P1.6 million a day, in loses earlier claimed by Customs.
When asked by Poe about remittances brought in by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bring into the country, Lina said it ranged from $20 billion to $25 billion.
But Senator Cynthia Villar corrected Lina, saying the remittances were almost $50 billion.
“Yung sinasabi pong $25 billion, it’s the formal remittance but they have another informal remittance of 23 billion,” Villar said.
Villar said the “informal remittance” refers to the cash amount that the OFWs brought with them when the return to the Philippines.
“May equally amount na informal yung dala nila sa mga bulsa nila pag umuuwi sila so we’re talking of about $47 billion,” she added. Maila Ager / CB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.