By Franco Regala
SAN SIMON, Pampanga — Joint operatives of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) the other day raided two warehouses involved in the illegal manufacture of cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco products at the San Simon Industrial Park here.
The raiding team was led by Revenue Officer Sonny Advincula, head of the BIR Strike Team, which was recently formed to pounce on smuggled items and locally manufactured counterfeit excisable products.
The BIR team was backstopped by the CIDG operatives.
The first warehouse was found manufacturing filter rods, a cigarette component, the raw material of which is regulated by the BIR and National Tobacco Administration (NTA).
The warehouse also yielded millions of pesos worth of tobacco raw materials as well as three cigarette making machines and 20 bales of acetate used for making cigarette filters.
It was estimated that there are around 33.5 million filters in the first warehouse enough to make 1.6 million cigarettes.
The BIR said that the operations of the said machines were not registered.
“These machines are supposed to be registered with the BIR so that their production could be imposed with the appropriate taxes,” Advincula said.
The second warehouse yielded counterfeit branded cigarettes.
BIR said that the counterfeit cigarettes also bore fake tax stamps.
The warehouse also housed dozens of sacks and boxes of unprocessed tobacco estimated to be worth millions of pesos.
The warehouses are currently padlocked as appropriate charges are being prepared against the owners of the facility while a BIR inventory of all the materials is ongoing.
Last month, Advincula’s team conducted several raids of suspected warehouses and rented buildings that positively yielded cigarettes in Manila and Malabon valued at P80 million.
It was also inside warehouses at the San Simon Industrial Park where P2 billion worth of counterfeit branded cigarettes were seized by the government last year.