THE Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10) has confiscated imported cigarettes estimated to be worth P125 million, according to Oliver Valiente, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS).
Valiente said they have been monitoring shipments from China leading to the confiscation of at least five container vans containing cigarettes. Each container has an approximate value of P25 million.
The first batch, three container vans, was detected by the Customs police sometime last week and the second shipment arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port on Feb. 14, he said.
Valiente placed the estimated value of the cargo at P50 million per container van, although the BOC-10 will still determine the actual worth of the cigarettes.
He said they were ordered to monitor the vessels containing the cigarettes, whose brands were Marvels and Two Moons.
The latest cargo, he said, stopped by at the ports of Manila and Davao before proceeding to the MCT. It was subjected to a spot check on Feb. 16.
“We were able to track the vessel, and upon verification it was positive that the container vans contained cigarettes,” Valiente said.
He said the cigarettes were wrongfully declared as pieces of furniture.
Valiente identified the cargo’s consignee as LMRC said to be based in Davao City, but he said it could be possible that the group that smuggled the cigarettes has employed dummy consignees.
John Simon, BOC-10 district collector, said the information of the arrival of the illegal goods was obtained through a bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and China.
“It was a government-to-government coordination that led to the detection of illegal cigarettes. We consider every information that we receive as important and worth to be verified,” Simon, who has just received an award from the United Nations, said.
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