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Was BOC chief’s apology over balikbayan box mess sincere?

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OFWs in Hong Kong (Photo: CBCPNews)

MANILA, Sept. 4, 2015–A Catholic bishop is hoping that beleaguered Bureau of Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina’s apology to overseas Filipino workers (OFW) is sincere.

Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said the OFWs would appreciate it more if the BOC apology over the balikbayan box fiasco will be accompanied by action.

According to him, Lina should also admit his mistakes and not just apologize because he earned the ire of the OFWs. (READ: Aquino gov’t lacks concern for OFWs, says bishop)

“I hope he (Lina) will prove his sincerity by showing respect for our OFWs,” said Santos, who chairs the Church’s migration ministry.

At yesterday’s Senate hearing, Lina apologized to OFWs over their plan to open all balikbayan boxes entering the country as part BOC’s anti-smuggling campaign.

The agency earlier said balikbayan boxes are being used for “technical smuggling” by people who want to evade paying the right taxes.

The bishop, however, reminded the BOC that OFWs used hard-earned money to buy small presents they send in balikbayan boxes to their families.

He also reiterated his call for the government to instead focus its attention on going after big-time smugglers. (READ: Bishop to Customs: Run after big-time smugglers, not OFWs)

“They should focus their attention on big container vans,” Santos said. (CBCPNews)


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