Cebu City Council urges BOC to review luggage handling policy, avoid discouraging tourists

THE Cebu City Council has passed a resolution requesting the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to review its policy on handling luggage of incoming passengers to prevent discouraging tourists from visiting the island of Cebu.

City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said in a privilege speech during the regular session on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, the importance of providing ease of travel and accessibility for tourists and travelers in general.

Pesquera’s request came after she personally experienced the “difficult” policy of the BOC when she returned to Cebu after her travel in Europe on June 13.

During her speech, Pesquera shared that it took an hour for her to receive her luggage, despite her plane being the only one that landed in the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City. She also noted that there was no option for tourists to directly collect their luggage, even if they had nothing to declare before the BOC officers.

Pesquera also raised concerns about the confusing process when luggage passes through the X-ray machine. She observed that the BOC officer in charge of loading the luggage onto the X-ray machine was also the one who flagged which luggage needed inspection, instead of the officer who was watching the X-ray machine.

She also noticed that her bag had a large “X” tag on it when it came out from the X-ray machine.

“Mao sigurong dugay kay nag-tagging man sila. So naa nay kontra-senyas (It probably took a while because they were tagging. So there’s a counter-signal),” she said.

Pesquera said the BOC must review this process to prevent it from becoming a factor that would discourage tourists from visiting Cebu.

She also talked about the long process for incoming passengers at the airport, which contradicts the efforts of local government units and the tourism office in promoting Cebu.

The council also requested the BOC to ensure that there are no adverse reactions from tourists that could negatively impact the government’s efforts in promoting Cebu and the country as a whole.