ILIGAN CITY -- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) destroyed P395 million worth of smuggled cigarettes during the simultaneous public condemnation activity held at the Pavilion Gym, Provincial Government Complex, Barangay Dao, Pagadian City, and at a customs-rented warehouse in Barangay Baliwasan on Tuesday, December 13.
Zamboanga Port District Collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte, Jr. confirmed that a total of 11,219 master cases of cigarettes were destroyed.
These smuggled cigarettes were seized during separate anti-smuggling operations in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi from May to November 2022.
“This is the second condemnation activity this year. We had the first one in May whereby P110M worth of illicit cigarettes were destroyed," said Barte.
Barte attributed this accomplishment to the efficient interagency coordination among the members of the Task Force for Anti-Smuggling in Zambasulta composed of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the local government unit.
During the destruction, elements of the Bureau of Fire Protection drenched the confiscated cigarettes in water and crushed them using a payloader.
In Zamboanga City, operatives subsequently disposed of the destroyed cigarettes at the sanitary landfill in Barangay Salaan.
Lt. Col. Abdurasad Sirajan, the Acting Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Civil-Military Operations and Chief of the Public Information Office of the Western Mindanao Command, represented Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas during the activity in Baliwasan.
The representatives from the Philippine Coast Guard, PNP, Philippine Navy, Joint Task Force Zamboanga, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, BIR, Commission on Audit, the local government unit led by Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe, and other stakeholders also witnessed the activity.
Brig. Gen. Rojas commended the troops of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Joint Task Force Zamboanga, and other units under WestMinCom for actively participating in the law enforcement operations conducted by other security agencies.
“Rest assured that we will continue to support our partners in their campaign against smuggling and other illegal activities in our area of operation", said Rojas.