BOC-Zamboanga destroys P595-M smuggled cigarettes

June 14, 2024 People's Journal 228 views

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) – Port of Zamboanga on Thursday led the destruction of more than P595-million worth of smuggled cigarettes in a customs-rented warehouse in Bgy. Baliwasan, Zamboanga City.

In pursuit of BOC’s mandate to safeguard the country’s borders and prevent the entry of illicit goods, the BOC Port of Zamboanga continues to intensify its anti-smuggling campaign in Region 9 and BARMM, resulting in the seizure and subsequent destruction of more than 8,816 cases and 1,014 reams of smuggled cigarettes.

The contraband, with an estimated market value of P595.22 million, was seized through maritime patrol operations in various areas of the Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, from November 2023 to April 2024.

The cigarettes were manually shredded with a cutter, drenched in water, and repeatedly crushed by payloader equipment in the presence of all partner agencies. They will then be disposed of in the sanitary landfill in Bgy. Salaan, Zamboanga City.

Acting district collector Arthur G. Sevilla Jr. of the Port of Zamboanga emphasized that these unauthorized and potentially hazardous contraband are disposed of in accordance with environmental regulations and public safety measures.

“With the firm directive of Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio to ensure transparency and credibility, the BOC Zamboanga has been conducting the disposal of smuggled cigarettes through a public condemnation activity, in the presence of representatives from the Commission on Audit, Department of Health, the local government unit, stakeholders, and all partner operating units,” stressed Sevilla.

In a statement, Commissioner Rubio stressed that: “Maintaining transparency and credibility is our foremost commitment. The condemnation process plays a crucial role in ensuring the proper disposal of illicit goods.”

He added: “We will make sure that only legitimate products enter our local markets, thus safeguarding our citizens from the dangers associated with the illicit tobacco trade.”

Rubio commended the BOC Port of Zamboanga’s Customs Police Division, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Division, and partner operating units, including the Western Mindanao Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, Philippine Marines, National Bureau of Investigation, Joint Task Force Zamboanga, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the local government unit, for their pro-active inter-agency coordination, resulting in expedient and effective operations against smugglers.