P882M fake cigarettes seized in CDO warehouses
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– Authorities here confiscated on Tuesday 4,707 boxes of illegal cigarettes.
Among the brands confiscated were YS Filter, RED, Jackpot, Bravo, Marvels, Astro, and Two Moon cigarettes, all of which did not bear the tax stamps of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), hence, were deemed illegal.
The cigarettes, with an estimated unpaid excise tax of P882 million, were seized in two separate raids in warehouses in barangays Bayabas and Cugman here, according to Lawyer Jonaidah Darimbang of the BIR Northern Mindanao’s legal department.
BIR regional director Nuzar Balatero issued mission orders on Jan. 21, authorizing the agents to raid the two warehouses, Darimbang said.
Of the total number of boxes seized, 3,000 were taken from the Bayabas warehouse, estimated to be worth P562.5 million in unpaid excise tax; while 1,707 boxes were seized from the Cugman facility, estimated to be worth P320 million in unpaid excise tax.
She said a total of P882 million, which was supposed to go to the government, were not collected by the BIR due to the illegal manufacture of the products.
Darimbang said the BIR was able to determine the cigarettes to be counterfeit.
“With the use of the BIR Taggant Reader, a device used to detect whether or not the BIR stamp is fake, various brands of cigarettes were found to have fake BIR stamps or no stamp at all,” she told reporters as the seized items were presented to the media at a storage facility in Bayabas on Wednesday.
Both the BIR and NBI have yet to identify the persons behind the illegal manufacture of cigarettes.
Darimbang said that would be their next step as they needed it to file cases against the suspect. NBI and BIR also have yet to verify if the confiscated products were made locally or in another country./lzb
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