MAKERS of illegally imported cigarettes are resorting to another tactic by making it look like the products they are shipping to the country is locally manufactured by labeling cigarette boxes with “Made in the Philippines,” an officer of the Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10) said Wednesday.
This was the revelation of Oliver Valiente, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service in Northern Mindanao, who noticed that several boxes of the imported cigarettes they have intercepted at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental appear to be locally made.
“They want to make it appear that these cigarettes are local,” Valiente said, referring to the PHP75 million worth of cigarettes from China that BOC-10 has destroyed at a facility in Barangay Mantibugao, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, on Tuesday.
He said the shipment arrived at the MCT in January this year and was declared by the consignee Sixty Nine Enterprises as kitchenware.
“Upon examination, the shipment revealed 135,700 reams of assorted cigarettes,” he said.
Valiente said the cigarettes were destroyed with the use of a road roller and backhoe.
He said the information that a contraband arrived at a local port was relayed to Customs deputy commissioner Teddy Raval.
Most of the sources of information, he said, come from local industries and local counterparts in the Customs organization.
“We adhere to the standing order of (Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero) to remain vigilant in our ports to maintain the influx of smuggled goods. We are maintaining it, day in, day out," Valiente said.
He added that the BOC-10 has so far intercepted three batches of misdeclared imported cigarettes, as he assured that legal action has already been filed against the consignees of the shipment and the brokers who facilitated the goods’ release. (PNA)
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