P.5B fake cigarettes seized

JOINT elements of the Bureau of Customs–Enforcement and Security Service (BoC-ESS) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) raided on Friday three warehouses full of fake cigarettes and cigarette raw materials worth at least P.5 billion in Meycauyan City, Bulacan.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña ordered the raid following intelligence reports that dutiable and prohibited goods were being stockpiled in three warehouses in Block 4 Lot 2, Block 4 Lot 2B, and Block 2, Lot 8, Panply Marketing Warehouse in Muralla Industrial Subdivision, Meycauayan City.

Also recovered were alleged fake Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) tax stamps, and cigarette-making machines.

But authorities did not find any person inside the warehouse owned by a certain Johnny Caluban and Panply Marketing Corp.

“The owners still have 15 days from the date of inspection to produce evidence of payment otherwise a warrant of seizure and detention will be issued by the Bureau,” Lapeña said.

The BIR is still authenticating the suspected fake BIR cigarette tax stamps.

Last year, the BoC also led the crackdown on local cigarette manufacturing company Mighty Corp. for selling cigarettes with fake tax stamps.

The BoC seized P5.407 billion worth of Mighty cigarettes found with fake tax stamps.

Recently, the Bureau seized about P20 million worth of smuggled cigarettes of various brands at the Manila International Container Port and P8.2 million worth of cigarettes at the Port of Manila.

“Again, we are warning these unscrupulous traders, importers, and businessmen. Our operations after your illegal trade practices will not stop. You better shape up or your businesses will suffer. We will do these to help level the playing field for legitimate cigarette manufacturers.” Lapeña said.

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