Balibayan boxes to now undergo X-ray inspection
(SPOT.ph) After learning that smugglers have been using the Balikbayan Box Program to sneak goods into the country illegally, the Bureau of Customs has decided to subject balikbayan boxes to X-ray inspection, reports The Philippine Star. Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez made the announcement yesterday, July 28, at a press conference at the Department of Justice.
According to Alvarez, this smuggling tactic was discovered after a certain Mark Louie Mendoza, believed to be the owner of Last Resort Armaments (Makati City), was caught trying to import weapons contained in 15 balikbayan boxes on July 16. The boxes, which held long rifle bullets, slugs, cleaning kits, and speed lock systems, came from California. Mendoza is now facing charges of "misdeclaration and misclassification to unauthorized importation." If convicted, he could be jailed for life, reports The Philippine Star.
In the past, balikbayan boxes were not inspected unless there was an alert issued on the shipment, reports GMA News. Plans to subject balilkbayan boxes to X-ray inspection began as early as May of this year, after the bureau discovered that they were used to ship motorcycle parts to the country illegally.