By Bernadette Tamayo | Journal Online
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants a law that would exempt from customs duties items, for private consumption, or what he described as “padala,” overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) send home to their families.
He recently filed Senate Bill No. 3033, known as “Duty-Free Padala/Pasalubong Act of 2015,” which states that goods, articles, personal items and effects referred to as “padala” and/or “pasalubong” sent by OFWs to his or her family in the Philippines, “shall be exempt from the payment of customs duties.”
Marcos said that “padala and pasalubong” are articles and effects that “are intended for reasonable private, personal use and consumption, which are neither in commercial quantities nor for the purpose of resale or merchandise.” These are sent in a “balikbayan box” through courier or postal service.
“Our OFWs have sacrificed and risked so much, and continue to do so for the benefit not only of their families but of the entire country as well. Hence, they most certainly deserve this special tax and customs treatment from the government,” said Marcos.
He said that a “balikbayan box” is equivalent to a “love letter” of an OFW to his or her spouse and the rest of the family and every item in the box is bought with endearing and loving purpose.
“The value of the ‘balikbayan box’ is not so much its contents, but rather the sacrifice that it embodies and the sentimentality that it expresses. By the grant of additional exemption from import duties upon the reasonable packages that the OFWs will send with love to their families in the Philippines, the government’s fiscal incentives package for OFWs comes full circle,” said Marcos.