Finance chief orders BIR, BOC to intensify campaign vs illicit cigarettes

The Senate approves on the third and final reading the measure which increases the excise tax on cigarettes, including electronic cigarettes. PHOTO BY PHOTO GRAZIO

MANILA – Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered a crackdown on makers of illicit tobacco products as well as their possible cohorts in the government, the Department of Finance said Monday.

The Duterte administration is stepping up efforts against counterfeit tobacco products as well as against smuggling and tax evasion, particularly through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

BOC data showed that 5,227 mastercases of counterfeit cigarettes, bearing various brands and affixed with counterfeit tax stamps, were seized in January to November 2018.

The bureau also incinerated more than 230,000 mastercases, or more than 115 million cigarette packs, bearing brands supposedly manufactured by the Mighty Corp. in 2018.

Dominguez ordered concerned agencies to coordinate with officials of the country of origin of unlicensed cigarette making units, and seek help in tracing those involved in the illegal entry of the machines via Philippine ports.

The BOC and the BIR were tasked to disable the confiscated machines so that no one would be able to utilize illegal equipment for illicit activities anymore.

Patrols in ports are being intensified as Dominguez urged for closer coordination between the Philippine Coast Guard and the BOC. (GMA News)


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