Porac, Pampanga—Some P1.3 billion worth of untaxed items believed sneaked into the country by a syndicate responsible behind the manufacture of counterfeit cigarettes being distributed across Luzon areas were destroyed Monday by the Bureau of Customs here.
"This is the biggest seizure made by our office specifically BoC Port of Aparri for this year so far," Arienito Antonio, Supervising Customs Operations Officer said during the ceremonial condemnation of the smuggled items.
He said the contraband were seized from a warehouse owned by a Chinese businessman authorities identified as Peter Hou during raid at Barangay Victoria, Alicia, Isabela last month.
Antonio said destroyed were thousands of cases of assorted filter paper, hundreds of kilos of powdered tobacco leaves, filters, wrappers, hundreds of cases of gold and white tear tapes, and different reams of cigarettes including Marlboro (blue), Fortune (Blue), Fort, and Farstar.
The raiding team also found counterfeit tax stamps of the Bureau of International Revenue amounting to P5.5 million and another P6 million worth of foreign tax stamps inside the warehouse.
"Counterfeit cigarettes have deprived the government of billions of pesos in terms of tax and revenues," said Antonio, who vowed to strengthen the campaign against smuggling in the Port of Aparri.
He said the smuggled items were subject of condemnation at Green Leaf 88, the only waste disposal facility accredited by the BoC and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources because of its state-of-the-art machinery in handling sensitive wastes.
Antonio said the seized items were hauled from Isabela to Pampanga for condemnation.
Rommel Cordova, Green Leaf 88 plant supervisor, said destruction of this huge quantity will take them four to five days in 24-hour operations to totally destroy big volume of materials.
He said Green Leaf 88 was equipped with a large shredding machine, cutter and water basins where tobacco leaves were left to decay using other non-harmful components.
"Green Leaf 88 is using natural way of disposing wastes and other condemned products, we are the only disposal facility in Central Luzon that has modern equipment," he told reporters on the sideline of destruction activities.