P1B in fake cigarettes, tax stamps seized in Luzon raids
The country’s two biggest tax-collection agencies have seized more than P1 billion worth of fake cigarettes and tax stamps as well as counterfeiting paraphernalia through raids conducted in three Luzon provinces, the Department of Finance said Monday.
The recent raids spearheaded by the Bureaus of Customs (BOC) and of Internal Revenue (BIR) in Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan yielded P1 billion in fake cigarettes and P175 million in counterfeit tax stamps alongside other raw materials and equipment used to churn out fake goods, it said.
“The BOC and BIR deserve to be commended for conducting without letup their campaign to rid our country of the illicit tobacco trade, which deprives the government of hundreds of millions of pesos in revenues yearly and eats up the market of legitimate manufacturers who abide by the law and pay their taxes regularly,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.
“These sustained efforts show that the Duterte administration’s campaign against corruption and other illegal activities would be pursued with the same zeal as its war against narco traffickers and illegal drugs,” the finance chief said.
In a report to Dominguez, Customs Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon said a raid of four warehouses in Villasis, Pangasinan, showed massive counterfeiting of popular cigarette brands such that they seized a P1 billion worth of fake cigarettes and arrested 24 undocumented foreigners engaged in manufacturing the counterfeit goods.
A separate BIR report to Dominguez, meanwhile, showed that an unauthorized cigarette manufacturer of various brands in Lubao, Pampanga, was caught in a raid possessing 5.5 millions pieces of fake unused tobacco tax stamps equivalent to P175 million in excise and value-added taxes. “The taxpayer who owns the feed mill where the raid was conducted had registered with the BIR as a hog mill feed operator last October. The machines seized are capable of producing 200,000 packs of cigarettes a day and supplies and stamps in the warehouse are estimated to be good for one month’s production. The stamps appear to be imported and with Chinese characters,” the BIR reported.
The BOC operation in Marilao, Bulcan, meanwhile, confiscated unlicensed raw materials used in manufacturing cigarettes, including more than 500 boxes of cigarette filters, 100 sacks of tobacco leaves, cigarette paper, packing film as well as reels of inner liner cigarette paper. “The raid also led to the seizure of counterfeit labels of cigarette brands manufactured by Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. and the arrest of a certain Jayson Enero Li,” the DOF said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.