Customs practice

READERS' VIEWS - The Freeman

The undersigned is a 75-year-old retired Norwegian banker, and a permanent resident of Toledo City, Cebu. Every now and then, me and my Filipina wife ship packages of Norwegian coffee and foodstuffs to the Philippines for personal consumption.

On September 18, 2019, I shipped two packages – CD 736501855 and CD 737398908 – from Bergen, Norway, but the shipment was withheld by the Bureau of Customs at the Central Mall Exchange Center at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

The Custom officer at the Pasay office on November 2, 2019 explained to my friend who checked on the shipment that they wanted to know the value of the content – when the value of the content was evidently declared on the consignment note with Custom’s invoice placed in plastic folder attached to the package.

On November 19, 2019, another friend checked on the package was assured that it will be immediately shipped to Toledo Post Office to be released after paying tariff charges.

After payment of tariff in Toledo on December 6, 2019, the undersigned discovered that three boxes containing vanilla sugar and six packages of yeast were missing. All the other foodstuffs were spoiled, pungent and rancid – after being stored for seven weeks in Custom’s storeroom. Not a single food item is fit for human consumption.

I’ve been trying to call the Custom’s hotline (02)705-600 over 50 times to follow up on the perishable goods but no one ever answers their phone. I spent around P30,000 to purchase the said items including shipment and tariffs – an enormous amount for retired pensioners.

In my past shipments, there was never an incident as this. The quality of Customs service is apparently abating.

I am writing this letter as I’ve often heard President Rodrigo Duterte encouraging everyone to write him to complain on below par government service.

 I only hope that this practice will be immediately corrected.

Magne Hellevang

Toledo City, Philippines

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