Porac, Pampanga—About P21 million worth of imported cigarette-making machines and huge volume of materials were destroyed by the Bureau of Customs at a non-hazardous waste disposal facility here on Monday.
The items were seized at a warehouse owned by Michel Jamora situated along Maysan Road corner A. Cantillon Street, Valenzuela City sometime on June this year following a forfeiture proceeding issued by a Manila court, BOC Port of Manila said in a statement.
The government had uncovered illicit manufacturing of cigarettes in different parts of Central Luzon and Metro Manila after it received complaints from Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International that led to the seizure of counterfeit cigarettes, machines and other materials.
The illegal tobacco trade has shifted from smuggling cigarettes to producing locally counterfeit brands using undocumented cigarette-making machines acquired mostly from China.
During the inspection, personnel found imported printing and cutting machines and counterfeit labels of branded tobacco products such as Fortune, Hope Mark, More, Jackpot, Two Moon, Marvel, Mighty, Astro, and The Port stockpiled inside the warehouse.
Also found inside the warehouse were Die Cutting Machines, Paper Cutter Machines, Printing Machines, Transformers, 10 box of vacuum packaging, Black Packaging paper, 120 mother cases of Crown C, 216 cases of Jinan Crown and 148 cases of Suzhuo Kingsworld.
The raiding team also seized finished cigarettes ream labels for Two Moon, Marvel, Mighty, Fortune, Astro and The Port.
Filemon Ruiz, director of BoC ESS, sent samples of the confiscated items to Philip Morris International for confirmation but the tobacco firm said the warehouse is not authorized to print such materials in the country.
Jamora failed to show proof of payment of tax and duties of the imported machines that prompted the raiding team to seize all items found inside the warehouse. The raid was properly coordinated with the local government unit of Valenzuela City.
The seizure was covered by Letter of Authority issued by BOC.
Present during the condemnation were personnel of BoC Port of Manila, representatives from the Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International.
Green Leaf 88 is the only accredited non-hazardous disposal facility in Central Luzon by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said Robert Gaza, owner of waste disposal company.