Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. on Monday hit the government for its oppressive treatment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), which, ironically, are being hailed as modern-day heroes for their huge contribution to Philippine economy through their billions of dollars remittances.
“I don’t understand this oppression of our OFWs,” he said referring to the plan of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to implement a random inspection of balikbayan boxes as a strategy to curb smuggling.
Marcos questioned the BOC’s plan of random inspection of balikbayan boxes considering the huge budget given to the agency to purchase x-ray machines for inspection of cargoes.
“Opening the balikbayan boxes for inspection is not necessary because we have given the Bureau of Customs a big budget to buy x-ray machines and these machines can be used to inspect the balikbayan boxes,” he said in an interview over radio dzIQ.
Marcos said he could not understand why the anti-smuggling campaign of the BOC should zero in on balikbayan boxes while big-time smuggling facing the agency needed focused attention.
“The priority problem of smuggling is not the balikbayan boxes. We have heard of two thousand containers that had disappeared and could not be found by the (Bureau of) Customs. We received news that even trash from another country found its way to Philippine soil. Why are they not looking into these thoroughly?” he said.
While he agreed with the BOC campaign against smuggling, Marcos said it should focus on big syndicates operating “inside its own backyard.”
“If some balikbayan boxes are being used for smuggling, I’m sure these are small compared to big violators. The worth of the balikbayan box is not the money spent for its content, but the sacrifices endured by the OFW abroad to send small things that will make his or her family here happy,” he said.