Friday, September 18, 2015

Corruption in the BOC

It was late July, just a couple of days before the big controversy with the Bureau of Customs- they were exposed to be charging exorbitant taxes/fees, and opening up and stealing from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW's) Balikbayan Boxes (gifts and packages, goods for relatives and friends sent from abroad)- when I had an experience with them.

You see, I received this Registry Notice from the mailman and he said I had a package. I asked him, "Can't it just be delivered to my house?" and he said no. I was quite happy as this is my very first time to pick up and receive in my name a package from another country.

philippine postal corporation, registry notice, parcel,
This pic is new. My second parcel from abroad.

So I went to the Caloocan Post Office which was quite obscured from the main road. There is not even a signage. From Sangandaan, walk  in the left side  'til you reach an alley on the side of the Big Fire Station and Police Station, just walk straight and you will find it.

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As I went inside the Packages section, I noticed the ceilings look dilapidated, as if only one termite hasn't signed the contract to demolish it. The time was around 12:55 PM and, amidst the signs of "No Noon Break" we had to wait for the staff to finish eating and resting for a bit.

It was 1:10 PM in my watch when we were finally accommodated. We paid Php 100 for the Postal Service Fee. I was surprised that my package was given first instead of the boy who came ahead of me! Mine was small as it was only eyeglasses. The 2 men  opened the box and thoroughly inspected the glasses (the only thing left was for them to actually wear it themselves) and said that if my spectacles were Oakleys, it would have been the fifth this week.

But the boy who came first than I had a big package. I overheard the staff telling him that he's going to pay for taxes and the kid argued that his Mom had already paid abroad for its taxes as she was shipping them. I don't know what happened next.

I am well aware that BOC, along with BIR, is among the most corrupt government agencies.

It is really sad that the Philippines has so much tax money and yet everyday we can see homeless and starving Filipinos. Mass transportation also torments us working class. We are packed like sardines in trains and traffic is stealing precious time supposed to be spent at home. Our territories are given away to other countries as gifts. Maladies that if I were to write it all, it would take a novel.

See the politicians? They kill and mudsling each other just for a coveted seat. They refuse to vacate positions and have relatives and families replacing them. How immense their wealth multiplies in just a few years in public service while their constituents remain poor. Heroes fought and died for our freedom, but is this the price of liberty?

I can understand the rage of our OFWs. So much sacrifice just to give this token of love. Small material things they may seem, but these hold sentimental value. Blood, sweat, tears, homesickness they endured, and is this how the BOC repays them?

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