ZAMBOANGA CITY – A total of P182-million worth of fake and imported cigarettes was destroyed on Monday, December 7, at a warehouse in this city, according to Zamboanga City Customs Collector Segundo Z. Barte Jr.
Barte said the destruction of the 5,200 master cases of various famous brands of imported and locally manufactured fake brands of cigarettes was ordered by Bureau of Customs Chief Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero.
The 260,000 reams of cigarettes were destroyed with the use of a backhoe and fire trucks.
Barte reported that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Zamboanga City has already destroyed about P2.2 billion-worth of smuggled cigarettes this year.
He said Guererro was firm in his directive to destroy, at the soonest possible time all, all the illicit tobacco products seized in the different parts of the region.
“We are not going to give yuletide holiday to smugglers here. Our campaign against smuggling will continue,” Barte said
The measure, Barte said, will send a strong signal to smugglers that the BOC was serious in its campaign to put a stop to the entry, manufacture, distribution, and sale of fake tobacco products in this region.
Among the illegally manufactured cigarettes that were destroyed bore the brands of Modern, Tough, “Fort”, LS, Gudang Baru, San Marino, Commando, Champion, Cannon, Tradition, New Berlin, Astro, Grow, MLB, Bravo, Mighty, On, Casa Blanca, San Marino, Royal, and Astro,
According to Barte, the cigarettes were set to be distributed in major public markets here and in other parts of the Zamboanga peninsula when these were intercepted.
Barte said the Zamboanga Peninsula inter-agency on anti-smuggling (ZPIAonAS) team has fully assisted the local BOC here and all BOC sub-ports offices in the region in their anti-smuggling campaign operations.