PNP cracks down on cigarette smuggling

PNP cracks down on cigarette smuggling

/ 05:00 AM June 17, 2024


MANILA, Philippines — Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil, chief of the Philippine National Police, has ordered a crackdown against counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes following reports of government losses of P25 billion annually from the illegal trade.

Citing a report from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the PNP said the spread of counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes contributed to a 15.9 percent decline in revenue in 2023, amounting to a P25.5 billion decrease from the previous year.


From January to April this year, the BIR reported losses totaling P6.6 billion, it said.


READ: Counterfeit capital

“I have directed all concerned police units to intensify the crackdown against fake and smuggled cigarettes. The PNP is committed to eradicating the illicit cigarette trade, that not only undermines government revenues but also poses serious health risks to the public. Our intensified efforts will include heightened surveillance stricter border controls, and coordinated operations with other law enforcement agencies,” Marbil said in a statement.

READ: BOC uncovers P7.3 B counterfeit items in Caloocan, Bulacan

The BIR has recommended more stringent measures to combat cigarette smuggling, such as tighter border controls and enhanced tax compliance enforcement.

Marbil said their intensified campaign would not only address the illegal trade but also the threat to the livelihood of local tobacco farmers and public health.

Health advocate, too

“The battle against counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes is not just a fight for revenue or law enforcement; it is a crusade to safeguard the health of our people and ensure economic stability,” he said. “Our goal is clear: we will safeguard our country from the evils of this illicit trade that comes as an affront to the welfare of small farmers and their dependents.”


Marbil said the PNP recently arrested individuals involved in cigarette smuggling in various regions and conducted significant contraband seizures in Sultan Kudarat, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga City, among others, leading to the recovery of illegal cigarettes valued at approximately P10 million.

He also called on the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities related to smuggling counterfeit cigarettes. Anonymous tips can be forwarded through the PNP’s dedicated hotlines, he said.

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The PNP earlier carried out an aggressive campaign against vape sellers targeting minors after the Department of Health sought their assistance following the rising number of minors with lung problems due to electronic cigarettes.

TAGS: PNP‎, Rommel Francisco Marbil, smuggled cigarettes, Smuggling

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