Meet US Homeland Security

Posting Date: 12.14.2010, Los Angeles, California

Manny Paez of Manila Forwarder with USCBP Out-Bound Exam Team Officer Nasri, LCDR Dagostino, and Chief CDR Tapia held a meeting with all Balikbayan Box company owners in Southern California to discuss issues on US Homeland Security Inspections of Philippine-bound Christmas Balikbayan boxes.

Balikbayan Box Company Owners meet US Homeland Security Officers
Author: Manny Paez

There will be a significant numbers of balikbayan boxes that will not reach their recipients in the Philippines on time for Christmas due to US Homeland Security’s Out-bound shipment examination.

Despite the strict US inspections, Philippine Bureau of Customs intercepted a cache of firearms and ammunition worth 4 million pesos from a container of a balikbayan from New York last Friday, December 10, 2010.

Charges have been filed against Lucia Chicco, the registered importer of the smuggled goods.

US Homeland Security’s Out-Bound Examination Team is mandated by law to examine out-bound shipments and implement various rules and regulations of US Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau, and US Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms among other agencies.

Their inspection varies from the use of x-ray machines and other detecting instruments to physically unloading the whole container and opening each balikbayan boxes.

When a container gets devanned for inspection, the inspection takes a week to a month resulting in delays in sailing. Balikbayan boxes will be physically opened and inspected. Contrabands will be seized in accordance with United States Code Title 19, 1594 and Title 22, 401. Violators will be fined and/or prosecuted accordingly. The shipper is also responsible to pay the cost of inspection.

A community out-reach meeting was held last December 10 at Salakot Restaurant in Los Angeles hosted by Filipino American Shipper’s Association and the officers of the US Homeland Security Out-Bound Examination Team attended by Unit Chief Commander Tapia, LCdr Dagostino, and Officer Nasri.

Balikbayan Box company owners assured the US Homeland Security Unit of their cooperation in preventing the transportation of contrabands thru balikbayan boxes.

Strict documentation of the contents of the box will be implemented. Each shipper  is required to present their government issued identification card.

There will also be a campaign to inform customers the items that they are looking for which include but not limited to currency, precious metals, copyright items, hazardous materials, weapons, guns, and significant military equipments that includes weapon sling, holster, handle, scope and any weapons parts. A detailed list can be found at

Filipino American Shipper’s Association members also pointed out that there are some mix-up during the inspection and the US Homeland Security Inspectors assured the members that they will implement a new system on how they conduct the inspection to prevent such from happening again.

They also asked the FASA members to inform their client that the inspection will continue until the violations stops.

The inspections cost an additional expense of an average of $10 per box and will most likely to be passed to consumers.

The public is also encouraged to provide information on shipments of contraband by contacting the US Homeland Security at (310) 971-22-00.



US Homeland Security Inspection is conducted free by US Homeland Security Officers.
However, the inspections are conducted at a civilian facility contracted by the USCBP and they charge shippers from $100 to $5,000 per container depending on how intensive was the examination.


Please provide:

1) Obtain your Booking number and container number by sending your information including tracking number to

2) Basic Letter indicating the facts about your package condition upon delivery, include photos, Proof of delivery, and other documentary evidence.

3) Provide your Shipper's Export declaration and packing list showing your detailed declaration of items being shipped. Include value.

4) Provide copies of receipts, manufacturer's invoice, packing list

5) Send the info to:

Price Transfer, Inc
Attn: Bill Lorenzen/ Joel Silva
2790 E. Del Amo Blvd,
Rancho Dominguez, CA 90221
Phone (310) 639-6074 ext 3199
Fax: (310) 631-1149

Please cc

All of Manila Forwarder shipments are insured up to $200 per package by Great American Insurance. Additional coverage is available at the amount of $5 for every $100 coverage.

For Claims, Please also send the above mentioned information to:

Mr. W. Gray Slay
Broker, Winward Insurance Services
CA Insurance License 0809244

How to Prevent this from happening again:

- USCBP Out-Bound Exam Team can inspect your shipment any time as mandated by law;

- As a shipper, you need to itemize your declaration in the Shipper's Export Declaration and Packing List. The mere declaration of "Personnal Effects" is unacceptable.

- Provide goverment issued ID when shipping;

- Do not ship any contraband;

List of Restricted Items

- Contact you Congressional Representative and / or USCBP and tell them your experience.

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