P20.7M in smuggled cigarettes shredded in Cagayan de Oro
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) destroyed on Wednesday (Sept. 9) at least P20.7 million worth of smuggled cigarettes bearing brands commonly sold in Philippine markets.
John Simon, BOC district collector, said the contraband consisted of 2,150 reams or 188,824 pieces of foreign cigarettes with brands that included Union, Bravo, Famous, Farstar, Septwolves, YS, San Marino and Cannon.
Simon said the cigarette shipment entered the port of Ozamiz in Ozamiz City and the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental last Aug. 25 and Sept. 1.
“We don’t want cigarettes that are illegal to be sold here in Northern Mindanao,” Simon said.
The seized cigarettes were shredded at the Greenleaf 88 waste disposal facility at the village of Bayabas here.
Simon said the items were seized as their importers failed to pay duties in violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The BOC, however, has yet to identify the consignees.
Oliver Valiente, chief of the regional BOC’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, said the contraband came from China and other Asian countries and entered through the Zamboanga Peninsula.
According to the Department of Finance, consignees are using new schemes to smuggle cigarettes into the Philippines.
Citing a report from Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said, for instance, that a P53 million-worth of cigarette shipment from Ningbo, China in two shipping containers were declared as tissue paper when these were seized in the port of Davao last July 12.
When the cargo reached the port of Davao, Guerrero said the containers of smuggled cigarettes were not declared despite Customs documents showing the existence of the shipment.
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