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Customs destroys P1.44 billion in smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) destroyed P1.44 billion worth of smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga.

In a statement on Tuesday, the BOC said its port district in Zamboanga condemned the confiscated smuggled cigarettes by drenching it in water and crushing it with a payloader.

The destruction took place last April 28 in a BOC-rented warehouse in Barangay Baliwasan, Zamboanga City.

The condemned cigarettes would be transported and disposed of at a sanitary landfill.

The 19,419 cases and 667 reams of smuggled cigarettes worth P1,439,586,900 were seized in several anti-smuggling operations in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi in the first quarter of this year.

The BOC said this was the largest condemnation of seized cigarettes in the Port of Zamboanga.

The bureau explained that the condemned master cases of cigarettes were seized over violation of Section 117 of R.A. 10863 or the "Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) of 2016" in relation to Executive Order Number 245 entitled "Amended Rules and Regulations Governing the Exportation and Importation of Leaf Tobacco and Tobacco Products."

“The BOC persistently exerts effort to curb smuggling in all forms. Condemnations and destruction of these smuggled items, along with filing of appropriate criminal charges, will continue to deter the citizenry from committing criminal acts of smuggling,” said Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio. Richa Noriega/DVM, GMA Integrated News