By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – Clients of the defunct RDR Cargo and Logistics are rolling their sleeves to reclaim their stalled balikbayan* boxes. At least 20 of them, from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland, are stepping up efforts to file a complaint against RDR owner Rommel del Rosario with the Office of the District Attorney and the Attorney General’s Office.
During a consultation meeting with Consul General of New York Mario Lopez de Leon Jr. at the Philippine Consulate on Thursday, an obviously angry clientele spoke about ways to recover their boxes and hold del Rosario liable.
But del Rosario and his mother Minerva are nowhere to be found to answer their queries. The clients could not fully ascertain if these boxes are still in the US or already stalled in Manila awaiting public auction.
What is in a box? For Filipinos, balikbayan* boxes are expressions of love and thoughtfulness for families in the Philippines. They are personal packages that could contain vitamins for aging parents, chocolates, clothes, shoes, cookies, or priceless mementos like family albums, medals, and souvenirs sent back home.
About 11 cargo containers filled with these balikbayan boxes are stuck in warehouses here and in Manila because of bad business. The RDR closed in June 2016 with huge storage and tax duties with the Bureau of Customs in the Manila.
Joie Calub from New York and Marilyn delos Santos from New Jersey agreed to take the lead in consolidating the claims of the RDR clients whose boxes are currently stalled.
Bergenfield Councilman Arvin Amatorio, a lawyer by profession, promised to provide legal guidance needed by the clients.
Calub also handed to Consul General de Leon an open letter to Pres. Duterte asking him to intervene in the subsequent auction of undelivered boxes by the Bureau of Customs in Manila.
The RDR office in Woodside is apparently assumed by another business entity in the person of Sylvia Crawford.
Crawford, although denying to be a partner of the RDR, handled the company’s clients. She sought additional payment from clients who wanted their boxes that are in the New York warehouse or in Manila sent to their families in different provinces.
Sherwell Burgos, who had been following up about his two balikbayan boxes for several months, said he was arrogantly treated by Crawford while demanding for additional $40 for each box to be shipped to his home in Cebu. Burgos said he will pay the $40 when these boxes reach his home. “I have been scammed once, and why would I allow to be scammed once again? They have to deliver my boxes first. I am not even sure where they are now,” Burgos said.
*Balikbayan – someone who has returned home; balik means return, bayan means country.