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Frequently Asked Questions

(Foreign Service Circular No. 61-00)

Donated goods that may be allowed duty-free entry are food, medicines and other relief goods; books and educational materials; essential machineries/equipment; consumer goods and other articles subject to certain conditions. Used clothes are considered regulated/restricted items and can only be received by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and welfare organizations accredited by the DSWD.


The documents required from the donor prior to the issuance of duty-free certification by the government agencies concerned are the following:

A.    Deed of Donation, duly authenticated by the Philippine Consulate General;
B.    Commercial Invoice and/or packing list/inventory of donated items; and
C.    Shipping documents (bill of lading/airway bill).


A. Prior to Shipment

  1. Prospective donors who intend to ship goods/articles/equipment must inform the Consulate General of their intention to donate. The donor will have to provide the Consulate with a complete list of items to be donated, name of consignee, his complete address, and telephone number, and the contact person in the Philippines
  2. The Philippine Embassy/Consulate will refer the prospective donation to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). Upon receipt of the notice of intent to donate, the CFO will coordinate with government agencies concerned and the designated consignee to determine if the intended donation is eligible for duty-free entry and if the designated consignee is qualified to accept the donation free from duties. The CFO will inform the Philippine Embassy/Consulate General about the requirements and obligations in connection with the intended donation; and
  3. The Philippine Embassy will advise the donor on feedback from Manila, including the requirements for duty-free entry. The Philippine Consulate General authenticates the Deed of Donation prior to its shipment in Manila.

B. Shipment of Donations

  1. To allow sufficient time for the processing of the donation, the donor must send advance copies of the following documents to the designated consignee at least thirty (30) days prior to the actual shipment of the goods to the Philippines;
    1. Deed of Donation, duly authenticated by the Philippine Consulate General; and
    2. Commercial invoice and/or packing list/inventory of donated items.
  2. The Donor must ensure that the name of the consignee is identical in both Deed of Donation and the shipping documents, i.e. Bill of Lading or the Airway Bill. The donor must also determine that the shipment contains only the items in the packing list. The donor may also send advance copies of the aforementioned documents to the CFO through the Philippine Consulate General for purpose of coordination.
  3. Upon receipt of the advance copies of required documents from the donor, the recipient will be advised to coordinate with appropriate agencies and submit required documents; and
  4. The recipient must monitor the arrival of the shipment by coordinating with the shipping agency. The shipping agency will usually send an arrival notice to the consignee.

C. Processing of Donations

  1. Upon receipt of the request of the consignee for the duty-free importation, the appropriate agency (Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, Culture and Sports, or the National Economic Development Administration) will recommend to the Department of Finance (DOF) that the importation be exempted from customs duties, if deemed meritorious. These agencies can also recommend denial of the request for exemption from payment of duties;
  2. Upon endorsement by the appropriate agency for the duty-free entry of the donation, the DOF will issue a clearance and will forward this document to the Tax Exemption Division, Bureau of Custom (BOC). The consignee may obtain a duplicate copy of the DOF clearance from DOF;
  3. The Tax Exempt Division of the BOC will endorse the release of donation and will forward this document to the Informal Entry Division (IED) of the BOC District Office concerned (i.e. South Harbor, Manila International Container Port, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, etc.). The IED checks, verifies, appraises, and examines the donated shipment; The original copies of the Deed of Donation, commercial invoice and/or packing list, and the Bill of Lading or the Airway Bill must be received by the consignee on or before the arrival of the shipment in the Philippines to effect its release; and
  4. After the consignee complies with all the documentation and pays the and charges (i.e. arrastre, wharfage, value-added tax, etc.), the BOC will release the shipment to the consignee.


All donations, regardless of its type or classification, follow the general procedures instituted in facilitating its entry, processing, and release, and should satisfy as well the general requirements in availing of duty-free privileges. Depending of the type of donations and/or the identified beneficiaries, however, concerned Departments/agencies in the Philippines, i.e. DSWD, Department of Health, Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, and the Bureau of Food and Drugs, may prescribe additional requirements and procedures in the processing of foreign donations.

For assistance, questions and/or additional information, prospective donors may contact the CFO at the following address, telephone/fax numbers and e-mail address:

    Commission on Filipinos Overseas
    1345 Citigold Center
    Quirino Avenue cor. South Superhighway
    Manila, Philippines
    Tel # 011.632.562.3852
    Fax # 011.632.561.8332
    E-mail <cfodfa@info.com.ph

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