Good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it) to Japanese toy collectors, manga fans, cosplayers, and every other person who has imported anything from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and everywhere else — the Bureau of Customs of the Philippines has made improvements to their parcel claiming system.
The two most noticeable updates to the system are the creation of an online Customs fees calculator (which takes the hocus pocus out of the calculations), and a new inspection system that aims to give claimants a degree of safety and privacy from unscrupulous elements (unless the unscrupulous elements are the Customs people themselves — but moving on).
The new online Customs fees calculator helps you come up with a ballpark figure on the amount of taxes you have to pay for your parcel. It is still just an estimate as fees are calculated based on the exchange rate of the Philippine Peso to the US Dollar, and rates change every day. To be safe, get an estimate via the calculation tool, and bring a few hundred pesos extra just in case.
The new inspection system on the other hand tries to prevent theft and loss of privacy for parcel claimants. Instead of opening the parcel in the warehouse floor in full view of other claimants, your parcel will now be opened behind closed doors with the owner in attendance. Supposedly, this is done to protect the parcel owner — however, I can’t help but feel that this will be used in the usual customs shenanigans
So, have you been to the Customs office lately? Share your experience via the Comments box 🙂
With reporting from Nina of Just Wandering.