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
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 http://www.manilaforwarder.com/restrictions.html
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
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)
CONSUMER'S COURSE OF ACTION:
INSPECTIONS WAS CONDUCTED BY USCBP OFFICERS AT PRICE TRANSFER:
US Homeland Security Inspection is conducted free by US Homeland
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.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM:
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
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
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;
- Contact you Congressional Representative and / or USCBP and tell
them your experience.