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Sinking pump boat yields P2M smuggled cigarettes in Davao Occ.

February 21, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 712 views

POLICEMEN checking a report regarding a sinking pump boat in the waters of Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental last Saturday, discovered that the vessel was “overweight” since it was carrying assorted smuggled cigarettes worth nearly P2 million, Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 Director Brigadier General Benjamin H. Silo Jr. said yesterday.

As a result, members of the Don Marcelino Municipal Police Station (MPS) arrested one alias “Mali” and eight others in connection with the foiled cigarette smuggling try.

According to Silo, local policemen led by Capt. Arvin Ongcay, joined by officers from the Coast Guard and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), went to Sitio Talisay in Barangay Linadasan around 8 a.m. last Saturday after getting a report from a concerned citizen regarding a sinking pump boat.

When the lawmen reached the site, they found that the pump boat was loaded with smuggled cigarettes prompting them to apprehend the 46-year-old “Mali,” a resident of Babuan Island in Basilan, and the eight others, all Basilan residents too.

Recovered during the operation were 101 cases of GreenHill cigarettes, eight cases of Hero cigarettes, 8 cases of Champion cigarettes, 520 reams of GreenHill, 201 reams of Hero, and 250 reams of Champion cigarettes.

The nine and the recovered smuggled cigarettes were placed under the custody of the Don Marcelino MPS.

The nine will be facing charges for violating Republic Act (RA) 10643, the Graphic Health Warnings Law, and RA 10863, or the Customs and Tariff Act.

RA 10643 makes it an offense for any person or legal entity to sell or commercially distribute or display any cigarette or tobacco products without ensuring that the labels, packages, and containers used meet the government requirements.

There have also been proposals to declare cigarette smuggling as a form of economic sabotage and make it a non-bailable offense with a penalty of a minimum of 30 years imprisonment but not exceeding 40 years.