The Federation of Philippine Industries circulated posters in provinces to warn retailers and consumers against patronizing illegal cigarettes, saying they will face corresponding charges and penalties, including jail time.
The government is losing about P30 billion to P60 billion a year from illicit trade in cigarettes based on estimates by the House committee on ways and means. Taxes collected from cigarettes are used to fund the Universal Health Care program of the government.
For this year, the government targets to collect P2.081 trillion, 16 percent of which will come from excise tax paid by tobacco, alcohol, fuel, soda and automobiles. In 2020, the government collected P148.45 billion in excise taxes from the tobacco Industry.
Recently, a raid was conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation in a town in Palawan. It was the biggest so far in terms of the number of retail outlets or sari-sari stores targeted. The NBI raided at least 23 retail establishments for selling illicit cigarettes.
According to FPI, sari-sari stores raided were selling the illicit cigarettes at very low prices and without the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s official tax stamps.
Charges of violation of the tariff and customs law will be filed against them while the seized illicit cigarettes are now under the custody of the NBI.