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Wednesday, August 24, 2016



Here are the frequently asked questions regarding balikbayan box shipment and the answers provided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Q. What is the typical transport flow of balikbayan boxes?

A. Below is a typical Transport Flow of Balikbayan Boxes:

Overseas Filipinos usually engage the services of a foreign consolidator/principal
sea freight forwarder in sending their balikbayan boxes to their relatives in the
Philippines. The foreign consolidators collect door-to-door charges from the OFWs
as senders. These charges includes the fees for a shipping line/carrier, terminal
storage, duties and charges, and the accredited Philippine agent/local freight
The balikbayan boxes are delivered by accredited Philippine agents/local sea freight
forwarders to consignees or recipients in the Philippines.

Q. What is the problem / issue on the delivery of balikbayan boxes?

A. There are instances when foreign consolidators/principal sea freight forwarders
do not remit a portion of their collected charged to their accredited Philippine agents/
local sea freight forwarders to prompt the release and delivery of balikbayan boxes.
When necessary funds are not remitted to accredited Philippine agent/local freight
forwarders, the shipments or the balikbayan boxes with the Bureau of Customs
(BOC) will not be released and will not be delivered to consignee / recipients.

Call Center: DTI Direct
Hotline: (+632) 751.3330
Cellphone: (+63) 917.834.3330

G/F UPRC Building, 315 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue,Makati City, Metro Manila 1200 Philippines
Telephone: (+632) 811.8231 • E-mail:

Q. What office / agency addresses the said problem / issue?

A. The Business Licensing Accreditation Division (BLAD) of the Department of Trade
and Industry (DTI) – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) operates the
accreditation scheme for sea freight forwarders based on its Administrative Order
No. 6, series of 2005. The FTEB-BLAD holds both the foreign consolidator / principal
and its Philippine agent / freight forwarder jointly and severally liable for the delivery
of cargoes to the consignees.

Q. What are the approaches to the issue of undelivered balikbayan boxes?

A.Prevention (How to Avoid Being Victimized)

-Enhanced Information Campaign
-Advisories / Alerts
-Tips on Sending Balikbayan Boxes
- Blacklist
-OWWA, BOC, DFA, Embassies/Consulates, OFW Orgs, DTI
Commercial Attaches, DTI Regional/Provincial Offices, Consumer
Agencies of Foreign Governments, Freight Forwarders’ Regulatory
Agencies of Foreign Government

Cure (Assistance to Complainants/Victims)

-Formal Charges/Sanctions versus Erring Freight Forwarders (both
local and foreign)
- Endorsement to Law Enforcement Authorities
-Coordination with the Bureau of Customs and other concerned
government agencies

Q. If the Philippine agent/freight forwarder holds delivery of balikbayan boxes
because its foreign principal fails to remit the necessary funds therefore, what
can FTEB-BLAD do to help the consignee?

A. FTEB-BLAD shall order the Philippine agent/freight forwarder to deliver the
cargoes to their rightful owners (consignees) without any delay. Failure of the
Philippine agent/freight forwarder to deliver the cargoes immediately shall constrain
FTEB-BLAD to file a Formal Charge against the freight forwarder for the revocation
of its accreditation (if the forwarder is BLAD-accredited) or a Cease and Desist Order
(if the forwarder is not BLAD-accredited) as well as applicable fines as provided in
PSB A.O. 6, series of 2005.

Q. How does DTI handle complaints pertaining to balikbayan boxes?

A. DTI’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) has a Business Licensing and
Accreditation Division, Mediation Division and Adjudication Division that handle
complaints on balikbayan boxes.

Q. How does one file a complaint with DTI regarding balikbayan boxes?

A. Complainants, (either the shipper or consignee) should file a written complaint
together with supporting documents showing the name of the local delivery
agent/forwarder such as official receipts, cargo receipts, packing list, shippers’
declaration, house bills of lading, or waybills, with DTI-FTEB. They can also send
their complaints through email at and
or call DTI Direct at (02) 751-3330 / 0917-8343330.

Q. What sanctions/penalties may DTI impose on freight forwarders violating existing
policies on balikbayan boxes?

A. DTI may impose administrative fines in the amount of Php 50,000, Cease and
Desist Order, or suspension or cancellation of accreditation pursuant to PSB A.O.
No. 6 series of 2005.

Q. What are the common complaints received by DTI regarding balikbayan boxes?

A. Most of the complaints on balikbayan boxes are for:
1. Non-delivery
2. Loss
3. Pilfered
4. Damaged

Q. How much are the shipping rates of balikbayan boxes? 
How long is the transit
time from origin to destination?

A. The rates differ depending on the size (small (26”x26”x26”), medium (26”x26”x34”),
large/jumbo (26”x26”x42”), (53x51x76cm), (76x56x61cm), regular (23”x17”x20”), extra-
large (71x43x57cm)) of the balikbayan box and the origin of the balikbayan box
 Below is an estimated door to door rate of a typical balikbayan box and
its transit time from origin to destination.

Q. Where are most balikbayan boxes coming from?

A. Balikbayan boxes usually come from the following countries:
1. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
2. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
3. Europe
4. United States of America (USA)
5. Singapore

Q. What are the tips in shipping balikbayan boxes?

A. The following are tips to ensure that your balikbayan boxes reach its destination:

1. Check the list of Foreign Freight Forwarders and their DTI accredited
Philippine counterparts/agent at :

2. Always remember that the following items are NOT allowed to be sent
through balikbayan boxes:

 currencies, checks, money orders and traveller’s checks;
 jewelries:
 firearms, ammunitions and explosives;
 prohibited drugs and other substances;
 pornographic materials, gambling cards and toy guns;
 pirated products e.g. DVD, CD;
 items of commercial quantity;
 plant seeds and plant materials, and
 any food stuff that are not in cans, sealed packages, or in

3. Declare all the contents of your balikbayan box in the packing list per item
and its corresponding value, if possible, as well as your preferred shipping
date. Ask for proper (or extraordinary, if needed) packing, wrapping,
strapping, sealing and labeling of your box.

4. Secure shipping documents such as official receipt, cargo receipt,
invoice, house Bill of Lading, shippers’ declaration or waybill.

5. Get the name and contact details of the consolidator’s Philippine

counterpart/agent. Be sure that this information is indicated in the
shipping documents that you have secured.


6. Beware of exceptionally very low rates.

Beware of persons posing as representatives of freight forwarding

companies in your place. Ask for proper identification, check with the

freight forwarding companies if they are an employee or authorized to

represent the said companies.

8. Monitor the movement of your cargo from origin to destination. You may inquire for a tracking scheme or continuously contact the
forwarding company. You may ask them to provide you details of your
shipment such as the name of shipping line, vessel’s name, voyage
number, container number, and expected time of departure and arrival
of your package. You can use the Bureau of Customs Balikbayan Box
Tracker ( to monitor
your shipment.

9. You may also procure insurance for your cargoes. Ask the freight
forwarding company on how to go about it.

10. Inform your consignee to check your cargo with the Philippine agent
even before it arrives. When it does, make sure to inspect the seal and
wrapping of the box before signing the receipt of delivery. If you feel it
has been tampered with, do not receive the box and ask the delivery agent to have it double-checked.

11. Immediately file a complaint for any loss, non-delivery, pilfered or damaged cargo to DTI-FTEB at G/F Floor, UPRC Bldg., 315 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City or send through email at or

call DTI-Direct 751-3330 or 0917-8343330 for assistance.