The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has destroyed some P1.43 billion worth of smuggled cigarettes, the biggest haul of cigarettes that were illegally sneaked into the country as the agency continuously intensify anti-smuggling activities.
BOC Commissioner Bien Rubio said the seized items involved a total of 19,419 cases and 667 reams of smuggled cigarettes that were destroyed cigarettes in a Customs-rented warehouse in Barangay Baliwasan, Zamboanga City on Friday, April 28.
“The BOC persistently exerts effort to curb smuggling in all forms. Condemnations and destruction of these smuggled items, along with filing of appropriate criminal charges, will continue in order to deter the citizenry from committing criminal acts of smuggling,” said Rubio.
Along with representatives from the Commission on Audit (COA), the local government unit, operating units from partner agencies, as well as other stakeholders, the BOC condemned the seized cigarettes worth P1,439,586,900 which were apprehended during various anti-smuggling operations in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi in the first quarter of this year.
During the condemnation, the cigarettes were drenched in water and repeatedly crushed by a payloader equipment in the presence of all partner agencies and stakeholders.
Based on the BOC data, the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) was responsible for the anti-smuggling operations in Indanan, Sulu last March that resulted to the major apprehension of a warehouse of 19,000 master cases.
”The big bulk of the smuggled cigarettes was seized in Indanan, Sulu and it’s now destroyed and will be disposed in a sanitary landfill,” said Intelligence Officer 3 Alvin Enciso, chief of CIIS-MICP.
Enciso said the transporting process will carry on for about three to five days due to the considerable volume of the destroyed cigarettes.
Port of Zamboanga (POZ) Acting District Collector Eng’r Arthur G. Sevilla, Jr. said the big haul was made possible with the leadership of Intelligence Group (IG) Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy and the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Verne Enciso after a major apprehension of a warehouse full of cigarettes in Indanan, Sulu back in March.
The condemned master cases of cigarettes were seized for violating Section 117 of R.A. 10863 or the “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) of 2016 in relation to Executive Order Number 245 entitled “Amended Rules and Regulations Governing the Exportation and Importation of Leaf Tobacco and Tobacco Products.”
The condemnation of seized goods by the BOC-POZ is consistent with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s standing order to implement anti-smuggling and border control measures in the country.
— Aaron Recuenco
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