Two PEZA-registered cigarette makers in hot water; here's why

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) are investigating two PEZA-registered cigarette manufacturers for allegedly having deficient papers.


A statement from PEZA Sunday, March 7 said the two enterprises make cigarettes "for 100 percent export". They were allegedly "found to be deficient in compliance with BIR registration requirements for cigarette manufacturers." "PEZA continues with its own investigation into this matter and had earlier withheld import shipments of these enterprises until a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued by the Court," the statement read.

Although it did not identify the two cigarette makers, PEZA underscored that "other cigarette manufacturers registered with PEZA engage (in) best practices, such as JT (Japan Tobacco) International Asia Manufacturing Corp." The agency further said that it would apply its own rules and regulations as to the potential penalties against the two enterprises. "This is distinct and different from whatever penalties BIR may impose upon these enterprises." PEZA Director General Charito "Ching” Plaza bared that they have initiated talks with Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to also strengthen collaboration between the two agencies to resolve other concerns in relation to the movement of goods from PEZA enterprises and other BOC requirements. PEZA will also closely coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), local government units (LGUs), and other agencies to protect government revenues and also to ensure trust and confidence of investors in the government's processes, as well as their safety within PEZA ecozones.

“Along with BIR and BOC, PEZA vows to strengthen, integrate monitoring, compliance systems and processes in our economic zones to prevent smuggling, promote efficient tax collection, preserve investors’ cooperation, and maintain their trust and confidence in the government’s policies and processes,” noted Plaza.