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Filipinos abroad may soon be sending home more ‘balikbayan’ boxes after the Senate has passed the bill raising the the tax-exempt value to P150,000.

The senate passed on Monday, the third and final reading of the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) which seeks to modernize and make transparent customs procedure and to increase the tax-exempt value of OFW packages from P10,000 to P150,000.

The move to raise the tax-exemption limit was introduced last year after the BOC came up with a new policy that allows Custom personnel to open the balikbayan boxes.

However, BOC’s new policy triggered public outrage, forcing President Aquino to stop the random inspections.

According to Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, the provision “is most awaited by millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).’’

Under this section, “residents of the Philippines, Overseas Filipino Workers, other Filipinos while residing abroad or in their return to the Philippines shall be allowed to bring in or send to their families or relatives in the Philippines balikbayan boxes which shall be exempt from duties and taxes.”

However, The privilege can only be enjoyed up to three times in a calendar year.

“This means an OFW can send two boxes at the same time provided their total worth is not more than P150,000. That will be counted as one shipment,” Recto said in a statement.

The boxes, however, should contain “personal and household effects only and shall neither be in commercial quantities, nor intended for barter, sale or for hire.” -John Esconde