Porac Pampanga—Three 40-foot container vans carrying P93 million worth of smuggled cigarettes were destroyed by the Bureau of Customs Port of Subic during simple rites held at the Greenleaf 88 waste disposal and management facility here shortly before midnight Wednesday.
Robert Gaza, owner of the Greenleaf 88, said the contraband was seized early last month after it was intercepted by BoC Port of Subic personnel led by Collector Maritess T. Martin.
The condemnation, Gaza said, was witnessed by representatives from Japan Tobacco International (JTI), Philipp Morris, and personnel from BoC intelligence and law enforcement division, who escorted the cargo from Subic Bay Freeport to Greenleaf 88 compound here.
A total of 3,144 master cases of cigarettes with different brands including Mighty (blue & red); D&B (red & blue) and Winston, believed to be manufactured in China, were shipped to Subic Bay Freeport and were declared as LED lights and accessories.
The cargo was consigned to Caliente Empezar Ventures, Inc. with business address at G-10 Residencias de Manila, Jesus Street, Pandacan, Manila.
The smuggled cigarettes were discovered after the containers went through X-ray and physical checked by BoC Port of Subic personnel, Customs officials said in a statement.
Martin said she issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the shipment while the consignee is held liable for violating the National Tobacco Administration (BTA) Board Resolution 079-2005, NTA Memorandum Circular No. 03 Series of 2004 in relation to Section 1113 of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Legitimate cigarettes manufacturers are losing billions of revenues due to proliferation of smuggled and counterfeit cigars, said a representative of Philip Morris, who declined to be named as he is not allowed to talk to media.
Greenleaf 88 is the only government accredited non-hazardous waste disposal facility in Central Luzon. It is equipped with state-of-the-art big shredding machines that can accommodate huge volumes of contraband that are subject for condemnation.
Early this month, tons of cigarettes and manufacturing materials, including shredded tobacco leaves, were confiscated by the BoC Port of Aparri and were also destroyed at Greenleaf 88.