Navy seizes suspected smuggled cigarettes worth P84 million | Inquirer News

Navy seizes suspected smuggled cigarettes worth P84 million

07:07 PM August 25, 2023

Navy seizes suspected smuggled cigarettes worth P84 million

Navy forces intercept boat carrying Php84M worth of smuggled cigarettes from Indonesia

A motor boat carrying 1.4 million packs of undocumented cigarettes valued at P84 million suspected to be smuggled into the country from Indonesia was intercepted by the Philippine Navy (PN) off the waters of Baturapac Island, Tandubas in Tawi-Tawi on Wednesday.

The illegal cigarettes, equivalent to 2,798 master cases with the brand Oakley Original, would have again flooded the markets of Mindanao if not captured by the PN Littoral Combat Force BRP Domingo Deluana while conducting roving patrols in the area.


The vessel, M/B Ndah Nadz, loaded with the undocumented tobacco products, was immediately turned over to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) SubPort of Bongao, Tawi-tawi for appropriate inventory and disposition. All 12 crew members on board were apprehended. The navy said the boat’s port of origin was Tarakan, Indonesia.


The seizure of the illicit imported cigarettes came in the wake of President Marcos’ uncompromising warning against smugglers and hoarders of agricultural products during his 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 24 that “the smugglers’ days are numbered.”

The President has called on the entire government force to go after the smugglers and put them behind bars whose “insatiable greed” and “intricate schemes” are causing farmers and consumers to suffer.

Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture, has proposed a measure to include tobacco among the agricultural products covered by the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act and carry a heftier penalty for economic sabotage, and the creation of an anti-agricultural smuggling court.

Citing the contributions of the tobacco industry to the Philippine economy during the International Tobacco Agricultural Summit on August 3 at the Shangri-law in BGC, Taguig City, she committed to shepherd the passage of the amendment bill.

A similar measure has been approved by the House of Representatives principally authored by Senior Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos and PBA Party-list Rep. Margarita Ignacia Nograles.

In a report to BOC District Commander SP/Major Ernesto T. Pracale Jr. of the Enforcement and Security Service – Customs Police Division, the PN Combat Force said the team was en route from Lamon Wharf in Bongao to Tandabas Island when they spotted M/B Ndah Nadz at 1:22 a.m. of August 23.


Upon boarding and inspection of the questionable vessel, a still undetermined number of undocumented tobacco products were discovered when the 12-member crew failed to present the required documents.

Engr. Arthur Sevilla Jr., BOC District Collector of the Port of Zamboanga, said, “The customs bureau should be on top of everything because we are the lead agency.”

The government forces said the seizure of the illicit cigarettes was in violation of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

In February and March, joint customs and navy forces seized a total of 28,500 master cases of smuggled cigarettes on two separate occasions in Sulu. The March 2 operation yielded 19,000 master cases or 9.5 million packs, which is so far the biggest haul in a single enforcement under the Marcos’ administration

Seized during this enforcement were assorted illegal imported brands of cigarettes such as B&E Ice menthol, Souvenir menthol, New Far menthol, Cannon menthol, BroadPeak Black menthol, and Bravo, which translates to P7.6 billion in potential tax losses in excise, value-added, and penalties.

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READ: BOC-Subic foils smuggling of fake cigarettes worth P66M

TAGS: cigarettes, Smuggled, Smuggling

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