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BIR destroys seized cigarettes, machines worth billions of pesos

CAGAYAN de Oro City–The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has vowed to go after those involved in the illegal manufacturing of tobacco products and other consumer goods as cigarette-making machines and various counterfeit cigarettes estimated to be worth more than a billion pesos were destroyed Thursday.

BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said the destruction of equipment and cigarettes was a message to those who are engaging in illicit activities that the government will not hesitate to make necessary arrests and confiscations.

“We want to send the message to our taxpayers who are not registering with the BIR that they are doing this illicit manufacturing of cigarettes. The government is really bent on running against these illegal activities of people who are manufacturing cigarettes without paying excise tax,” said BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa.

He said: “”This is to show the perpetrators that the government is not sleeping on its job to really curb this manufacturing of illegal [cigarettes] because with this we can stop the production and therefore we can collect the right taxes, because we need these taxes for our Build Build Build project.”

Guballa said it was the first time that the destruction of the equipment and cigarettes was conducted in Mindanao.

During the destruction, the boxes of cigarettes were shredded while the various cigarette-making equipment were smashed using a heavy-duty jackhammer.

BIR Strike Team chief Remedios Advincula said the tobacco products were estimated to be worth more than a billion pesos, which would include penalties.

The machines’ total worth was pegged at P120 million.

BIR regional director for Northern Mindanao Nuzar Balatero said the destroyed products and equipment were confiscated in three separate raids at various locations on May 26, 2018, on the strength of mission orders that allowed bureau operatives to conduct raids.

The cigarette factories were located at the Alwana Business Park in Barangay Cugman and in Barangay Poblacion, Villanueva town, Misamis Oriental.

“The destruction of these machineries is mandated by law to ensure that these devices can never be used in pursuing illegal manufacturing of cigarettes,” Balatero said.

Advincula said various charges for violation of tax law, particularly unlawful possession of fake stamps, were already filed at the Department of Justice against the people behind the production of counterfeit tobacco products.

He, however, did not name the respondents only saying that there foreign nationals as well as Filipinos involved.


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