BOC swoops down on Malabon, Parañaque warehouses; raids yield P3.72-B smuggled vapes

March 1, 2024 People's Tonight 140 views

THE Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) simultaneous inspections of several warehouses in the cities of Parañaque and Malabon on Thursday, February 29, 2024, yielded more or less P3.72 billion worth of smuggled e-cigarettes or vapes from China.

Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Bien Rubio said that the issuance of Letters of Authority (LOAs) against these warehouses is part of the bureau’s agenda to specifically target smuggled e-cigarettes or vapes.

“This is an ongoing, an active investigation and inspection. We are not yet done examining these warehouses, but we will be able to determine at the soonest time possible the exact amount of smuggled vapes they contain,” he shared.

BOC-CIIS Director Verne Enciso detailed that the warehouse located in Olivares Compound, San Dionisio, Parañaque City was found with an estimated 1.5 million pieces of the Flava brand e-cigarettes in assorted flavors.

“To be more precise, there were around 15,000 boxes of vapes, with 100 pieces per box. That’s a total of 1.5 million pieces of vapes. The current market value is P500 per piece, so that’s a total of P750 million. Add to that the excise tax that should be collected, and the total estimated sum up value would be P1.53 billion,” he said.

Enciso further explained that the excise tax is worth P520 per 10ML or one piece, so the government should have collected around P780 million from the 1.5 million pieces of smuggled vapes.

He clarified that this was only from one of the warehouses in Parañaque City. Other warehouses are still being examined.

The BOC-CIIS also has an ongoing inspection of some warehouses located in Superb Catch Inc., Compound 46, Hernandez St., Barangay Catmon, Malabon City.

One warehouse yielded more or less 19,800 boxes, with 100 pieces of vapes per box, during an initial inventory, according to Enciso.

At P550 each, the 1.98 million pieces of vape has a total market value of P1.089 billion. In addition, P520 worth of excise tax per item should have been collected for a total of P1,029,600,000.

The market value and the excise tax of the smuggled vape products totaled to P2,118,600,000.

The team also found a temporary unplug cold storage unit being used as storage facility to contain a still undetermined quantity of vape products.

Coincidentally, they also saw a wing van truck unloading stocks of vape products during the inspection.

“Our team today scores a win against these smugglers. There’s a huge popularity of e-cigarettes or vapes among Filipinos, especially the younger generations, these days, so we are here to make sure they only get access to the safest products in the market,” Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy for Intelligence Group stated.

Rubio also issued a warning against the groups and individuals behind such activities.

“I hope this seizure serves as a reminder to those who look to circumvent our laws that BOC is steadfast in its commitment to enforce our responsibility of border protection,” he said, adding that, “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring smugglers to justice,” he said.