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DTI, AISL sign MOA to curb undelivered balikbayan boxes

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna, Aug.1 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) forged an agreement with the Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc., (AISL) as an added measure to eliminate the incidence of abandoned and/ or undelivered balikbayan boxes due to failure to remit funds by unscrupulous foreign consolidators to their Philippine agents/ freight forwarders. 

In the signing ceremony of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between DTI and AISL held recently at the DTI head office in Makati, the DTI, represented by Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya, and AISL, represented by its president, Mr. Edgar C. Milia, commited to collaborate and exchange information to ensure that the balikbayan boxes sent by overseas Filipinos to their families and relatives in the Philippines will be delivered to rightful consignees. 

"The Department is grateful for the AISL and its member lines for assisting government in its effort to protect the rights of Filipinos, particularly those overseas," Undersecretary Maglaya said. 

"We believe that through DTI's partnership with AISL, the number of complaints on abandoned and undelivered balikbayan boxes will be significantly reduced," she added. 

DTI reported that from 2008 up to present, 550 complaints have been received, processed, acted upon, monitored, and referred to. The peak of complaints at DTI was in 2011 with a total of 208, which were mostly on undelivered balikbayan boxes. In 2012, PSB posted a total of 150 complaints. 

The DTI-AISL agreement specifies that the DTI regularly provides its PSB advisory that includes the lists of accredited seafreight forwarders; foreign consolidators and its local counterparts, and freight forwarders with pending administrative cases and complaints. Consequently, the AISL is prompted by the DTI's advisory to screen incoming shipments in their ports of origin. 

DTI-Philippine Shippers' Bureau Director-in-Charge Victoria Mario A. Dimagiba emphasized, "The information from our office will properly guide the AISL in accepting or denying bookings of consolidated balikbayan box shipments at their areas". 

DTI explained that with the proper information from DTI, the shipping lines may refuse carriage of consolidated balikbayan box shipments if the foreign consolidator is in DTI's Advisory of those companies and/ or the Philippine Agent/ Freight Forwarder with complaints at DTI or has no DTI accreditation to engage in freight forwarding business. DTI also added that shipments of foreign consolidators whose Philippine agents are not DTI-accredited may also be denied. 

"The DTI is pleased with its partnership with AISL because we know that the international shipping lines play a vital role in bringing in and sending out packages for many Filipinos from countries around the world," Undersecretary Maglaya said. 

The DTI-PSB implements the accreditation scheme for sea freight forwarders categorized as non-vessel operating common carrier, international freight forwarder, and domestic freight forwarder according to Executive Order No. 514 and PSB Administrative Order 06, Series of 2005. As of July 05, 2013, the DTI-PSB has accredited 633 freight forwarders. 

AISL is a non-stock, non-profit corporation which consists of 41 container shipping lines calling Philippine ports and carrying around 85% of the volume of Philippine containerized export and import cargoes. It is recognized as the spokesman of international container shipping in the Philippines. 

For the list of accredited sea freight forwarders, visit www.dti.gov.ph or call DTI-PSB at 751.3304. (Charlie Dajao, DTI4A/PIA4A)