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P595M worth of smuggled cigarettes destroyed in Zamboanga

At least P595 million worth of smuggled cigarettes were destroyed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Port of Zamboanga.

According to a statement Thursday, around 8,816 cases and 1,014 reams of smuggled cigarettes were collected from several maritime patrol operations in Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi from November 2023 to April 2024.

Inside a warehouse, the contraband was shredded by cutters, drenched with water and crushed by a payloader before disposed of at a sanitary landfill in Barangay Salaan, Zamboanga.

Port of Zamboanga Acting District Collector Arthur G. Sevilla Jr. said the destruction of the illegal products was witnessed by representatives from the Commission on Audit, Department of Health, the local government unit, stakeholders and partner operating units.

BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio emphasized the importance of transparency and credibility in the agency's work.

“The condemnation process plays a crucial role in ensuring the proper disposal of illicit goods… We will make sure that only legitimate products enter our local markets, thus safeguarding our citizens from the dangers associated with the illicit tobacco trade,” he said. —Jiselle Anne Casucian/RF, GMA Integrated News