The government seized over P2 billion worth of cigarettes with fake BIR tax stamps in separate raids conducted yesterday, March 1, in San Simon, Pampanga and General Santos City .

According to a report to Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, five (5) warehouses in San Simon Industrial Park, San Simon, Pampanga were raided by joint elements of BIR, BOC and local police from Pampanga. The raid yielded over P1.957 billion worth of assorted cigarettes.

BIR representatives from Pampanga checked the tax stamps attached on cigarette packs and confirmed that fake stamps were used on each cigarette pack.

Each of the warehouses were estimated to have a floor area of 3000 sqm. The security team conducted random sampling/checking of each master case found at least 8 times per warehouse and results confirmed presence of counterfeit/smuggled cigarettes and fake tax stamps.

“District Collector Marites Martin of the Port of Clark will issue Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the said items,” Faeldon said.

A separate raid was also conducted by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in General Santos City together with representatives from OCOM-SSPDC and BOC Port of Dadiangas, by virtue of Mission Order and Letter of Authority 02-28-97-2017 to conduct anti-illicit trade operations against Sunshine Corn Mill Corp. warehouse located at Amadaza Street, Lagao, General Santos City.

The operation resulted to the seizure of 11,044 master cases of assorted cigarettes with fake tax stamps with approximate street value of P215 million and tax evaded amounting to P165 million. Operating teams confirmed that the tax stamps and cigarettes as counterfeit after official scanning and tagging of said cigarette packs/master cases.

Meanwhile, the BOC also raided a warehouse in Zamboanga City last month which led to the seizure of 400 master cases of counterfeit smuggled cigarettes with an estimated street value of P13.5 million.

Recent operations against illicit tobacco trade will significantly help in implementing the guidance from Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez to further tighten the enforcement following the proliferation of fake cigarette tax stamps which he described as “ a matter of serious concern”.###