Contraband. A 40-footer container van yields thousands of master cases of smuggled cigarettes for destruction. Contributed photo
PORAC, Pampanga — Smuggled cigarettes worth some P93 million were destroyed by the Bureau of Customs-Port of Subic at a waste disposal facility here shortly before midnight Wednesday.
The contraband was transported to the facility from Subic aboard three 40-footer container vans, escorted by law enforcement agencies. It was seized early last month by BOC-Subic personnel led by Collector Maritess T. Martin after the containers underwent X-ray and physical checks by the agency.
A total of 3,144 master cases of cigarettes with different brands including Mighty (blue & red), D&B (red & blue), and Winston believed manufactured in China were shipped to Subic Bay Freeport declared as LED lights and accessories.
The cargo was consigned to Caliente Empezar Ventures, Inc. with business address at G-10 Residencias de Manila, Jesus Street, Pandacan, Manila.
Martin said she issued a warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) against the shipment while the consignee is held liable for violating the National Tobacco Administration (BTA) Board Resolution 079-2005 and NTA Memorandum Circular No. 03 Series of 2004 in relation to Sec 1113 of Republic Act 10863 also known as Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Legitimate cigarette manufacturers are losing billions of revenues due to proliferation of smuggled and counterfeit cigars, said a representative of PhilipMorris who declined to be named as he is not allowed to talk to media.
Robert Gaza, owner of the Greenleaf 88 waste disposal and management facility, said the condemnation of the contraband was witnessed by representatives from Japan Tobacco International, Philipp Morris, and personnel from BOC intelligence and law enforcement division who escorted the cargoes from Subic Bay Freeport to the Greenleaf 88 compound here.
Greenleaf 88 is the only government accredited non-hazardous waste disposal facility in Central Luzon. It is equipped with state-of-the-art machineries including big shredding machines that can accommodate huge volumes of contrabands that are subject for condemnation.
Early this month, tons of cigarettes manufacturing materials including shredded tobacco leaf confiscated by BOC-Port of Aparri were also destroyed at the facility.