Bill seeks to tag tobacco smuggling as economic sabotage | Inquirer News
Tax leak

House bill wants tobacco smuggling classified as economic sabotage

/ 05:10 AM September 14, 2022
Close up stock photo. Open pack of cigarettes. FOR STORY: House bill wants tobacco smuggling classified as economic sabotage

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MANILA, Philippines — Two lawmakers want to amend the 2016 Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act to include and classify the smuggling of tobacco, both in its raw form and finished product, as economic sabotage.

Filed on Aug. 22, House Bill No. 3917 aims to combat large-scale tobacco smuggling by imposing more stringent penalties and also deter the entry and sale of illegal tobacco.

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It seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10845 by classifying the illegal entry of raw tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, and heated tobacco products as economic sabotage.

In the explanatory note of the bill, which was filed by House Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ferdinand Alexander Marcos and PBA Rep. Margarita Ignacia Nograles, it said the government would lose more revenues should the unrestricted entry and sale of smuggled cigarettes continue.

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“This will be detrimental to its pandemic recovery efforts. Clearly, this is one of the biggest tax leaks that the government needs to plug,” it added, noting that the estimated amount of forgone revenues ranged between P30 billion and P60 billion.

Marcos, a son of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., represents Ilocos Norte which is noted for its tobacco farming. Nograles, on the other hand, is from Mindanao, where there is a prevalence of the illegal tobacco trade.

RA 10845 originally included rice, sugar, corn, pork, poultry, garlic, onion, carrot, fish and cruciferous vegetables as agricultural commodities.

HB 3917 proposes a prison term of 30 to 40 years with no bail recommended for those who will be found guilty of smuggling raw and finished tobacco products. This is apart from the imposition of a fine that will be double the value of the seized smuggled items, plus the total amount of unpaid duties and other taxes.

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TAGS: economic sabotage, Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, Margarita Ignacia Nograles, tobacco smuggling bill
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