Alex Labor Central Region 0

Remove Commissioner Alberto Lina from the Philippine Bureau of Customs

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25 August 2015

His Excellency Benigno C. Aquino III,

President of the Republic of the Philippines

Office of the President

1000 Jose P Laurel Sr, San Miguel, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Dear Mr. President,

We are the collective voice of some of the 2.3 million Filipino OFWs from around the world.

We are writing this petition to ask you to remove Mr. Alberto Lina as Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs.

We the Filipino OFWs felt anguished by Mr. Lina's order to have Balikbayan boxes opened and inspected arbitrarily. The Balikbayan box has been synonymous with the term OFW, an iconic symbol of our status as overseas workers. To us, the Balikbayan box is a stark reminder of our plight as migrant workers whose purpose is to work abroad to better our lives and the future of our families. Sending goodies to our families back home through the Balikbayan box allows us to partly fulfill our promise to those we left behind to give them a better life by allowing them to experience now and then life's little comforts through the goodies inside the box. It also serves to keep our link with our families back home alive – that we have never forgotten them and they are always in our minds no matter how many thousands of miles separate us.

Mr. Lina has never been an OFW so he cannot empathize with us. His callous disregard for the sentiments of the OFWs shown by his sudden imposition of the order to tamper with the Balikbayan box struck a raw nerve in all of us and our loved ones back home as well.

We all feel that he has singled us OFWs – small fries in the ocean - while neglecting the sharks and leviathans in the community who have continually managed to elude the BOC and have flooded our communities with fake and harmful items while at the same time eluding tax payment to the government.

Mr. President, although you have immediately ordered the revocation of Mr. Lina's order and for which we are grateful, still it has not removed the bad feeling in our mouths. You are a Filipino Mr. President and you are familiar with and have Filipino sentiments. We the OFWs have been slighted by Mr. Lina and unless he apologizes personally to the OFW body, our wounded sentiments will not be assuaged. Either that Mr. President, or you remove him from his post. We are sure there are a hundred Bert Linas in our country who are more humane, sensitive and sympathetic to us OFWs who can replace him Mr. President. You also need not be burdened by a cabinet member whose respect 2.3 million OFWs have lost.


The Filipino OFWs

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