Abandoned balikbayan boxes by US-based freight forwarder, RDR Forwarding, have been released by local forwarder Isidro Faderguya to Online Pinoy Padala (OPP), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported on Thursday, 23 February.
Customs Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon clarified that said balikbayan boxes are no longer with BOC and it is now with OPP.
These balikbayan boxes, Faeldon said, include Shipment 155 with Bill of Lading no.: JFKSE6030024 and container number TCLU9176566 and shipment number 159 with Bill of Lading Number TCLU80937.
Faeldon raised his concern over balikbayan box freight forwarders, such as RDR, that failed to process the shipments through its local forwarder, victimizing in the end the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families.
He also instructed concerned BOC officials to look for other remedies so that erring foreign-based cargo forwarders could be made accountable for their gross negligence towards OFWs.
Furthermore, Faeldon directed BOC personnel to take up the issue with the Department of Trade and Industry, the government agency that accredits cargo forwarders.
The BOC advises OFWs and other Filipinos abroad to be more careful in sending balikbayan boxes and to verify whether they are transacting with legitimate and accredited freight forwarders.
Senders of balikbayan boxes and their families have suffered long enough over the RDR abandoned shipments. RDR Forwarding, the company that received payments for consolidated shipments, shut down its operations in the US leaving customers that included OFWs in confusion as to how the boxes will be processed and facilitated for final release to rightful consignees.
OPP claimed that roughly 2,000 balikbayan boxes were abandoned by RDR Forwarding following its closure, abandoning altogether its financial responsibility in settling the applicable customs duties and taxes payable to BOC.
So far, around 1,000 boxes were already delivered to the various rightful consignees.