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BIR launches nationwide operations vs. illegal cigarette trade

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Wednesday conducted its first simultaneous nationwide operations against illicit cigarette trade.

In a statement, the BIR said the government was losing P50 billion to P100 billion in tax revenues from the illicit tobacco trade.

Revenues from the sale of cigarettes are intended to fund basic services including the Universal Health Care program and other national development goals.

BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr. on Wednesday led  simultaneous operations by “placing all regional enforcers on alert and in action while conducting operations on 378 stores in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.”

The BIR said authorities had operations in 21 provinces, 69 cities, and municipalities nationwide, specifically targeting wholesalers and retailers that were selling illicit cigarettes.

The agency said it confiscated illegal cigarettes that are untaxed, fake, and smuggled.

“Let me make this clear to you illegal traders. This is just the beginning of our simultaneous nationwide operations. We are serious in our crackdown against the illicit cigarette trade. We will be strict on implementing the law from hereon,” Lumagui said.

The BIR said its various revenue regions in Luzon held a total of 195 in simultaneous trade enforcements in Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Palawan, Rizal, Cavite and in Manila.

Authorities also launched 115 in Mindanao and 68 in the Visayas. —NB, GMA Integrated News

Tags: news, nation, BIR