U.S. Customs Delays Balikbayan Boxes

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SAN FRANCISCO–Thousands of families in the Philippines won’t be receiving the balikbayan boxes sent by their U.S.-based relatives in time for Christmas with the intensified inspections of all outbound cargo shipments by U.S. Customs amid heightened security alerts.

Containers from all balikbayan box shipping companies have been randomly held for inspection at the Customs’ Price Transfer Facility, sometimes for a month, depending on the backlog of outbound shipments in the ports.

“November being the busiest balikbayan box sending season, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) have been swamped, considering that CBP officials also have to contend with the increased volume of exports,” a San Francisco-based cargo courier official said.

There are approximately 10 million Filipinos living overseas. Most of them would either send a balikbayan box or money in the spirit of the holidays.