- President Benigno Aquino signed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA); making it into a law on Monday
- Customs Modernization and Tariff Act will now be known as Republic Act (RA) 10863
- The new law will raise the tax exemption ceiling for balikbayan boxes to P150, 000 from the present P10, 000 limit being implemented
MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino Workers around the globe have one more reason to rejoice as President Benigno Aquino has signed the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and made it into a law on Monday.
Customs Modernization and Tariff Act will now be known as Republic Act (RA) 10863 which overhauls the 38-year-old Tariff and Customs Code which was passed back in 1978.
An article by ABS-CBN News published on May 31 quoted Senator Sonny Angara explaining that the new law is designed to increase the tax-exempt value of items sent by Filipino workers all over the globe and also decrease the incidents of corruption and extortion activities in the handling of the balikbayan boxes.
Senator Angara, the chairman of the ways and means committee and sponsor of the CMTA, said such move will raise the tax exemption ceiling for balikbayan boxes to P150, 000 from the present P10, 000 limit presently implemented.
“They can bring home more things to their families. This would bring comfort to their families because they could send home items that they were able to buy at a lower price abroad,” said Angara.
“With the increase in the values, we lessen the discretion of the customs officials to inspect goods and collect taxes, thus minimizing cases of corruption and smuggling,” he added.
Angara said the CMTA aims to overhaul and modernize the Bureau of Customs, which the senator has described as an office that has long been perceived to be one of the most corrupt and underperforming government agencies in the country.
“Let us not punish the OFWs by imposing higher taxes and by supposedly rifling through and stealing the items in balikbayan boxes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina said he welcomes the passage of the CMTA.
An article by GMA News mentioned Lina commenting that CMTA will help in maintaining a more efficient process in the bureau, as well as “cashless, faceless and paperless environment”.
Lina added that the new measure will help reduce corruption and technical smuggling and or any activity leading to illegal revenues.
“Emphasizing the ease of trade through streamlined processes, the CMTA will establish the requisite foundation for a cashless, faceless and paperless environment in customs, reducing corruption and technical smuggling that will result to enhanced revenues,” Lina said.