BY GERRY LEE GORIT, Reporter
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Coordination among Customs intelligence units from different countries have led to discovery and confiscation of illegally imported cigarettes from China estimated to be worth P16 million by the Bureau of Customs’ intelligence service.
“We maintain our good relationship with our foreign counterparts, so that we were able to foil smuggling of cigarettes from other countries,” said Oliver Valiente, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) for Northern Mindanao, in an interview Wednesday, Feb. 2.
Valiente said this sharing of information has been a big help for the CIIS as even if the contraband is still in transit, they have already been informed.
Valiente was referring to at least two containers vans full of cigarettes from China that arrived at the Mindanao Container subport in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental early this year in two batches.
The shipment, estimated to have a total worth of P16 million, was intercepted at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) subport in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
Valiente said they received an information early this month that smuggled items are to arrive at the MCT.
He said the CIIS acted on the tip by requesting lawyer Elvira Cruz, BOC-10 district collector, to issue a pre-lodgment control order against the shipment for possible violation of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Based on its manifest, the shipment, a container van, arrived in the country on Jan. 14, 2022 from China and consigned to UHE Trading.
During the physical examination conducted by operatives from the CIIS, Enforcement and Security Service, the K-9 unit of the Phil. Drug Enforcement Agency-10, and Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc. representatives, it was discovered that the shipment contained cigarettes branded as “YS.”
For her part, Cruz said she hopes “this will send a strong message to smugglers that the agency is serious in strengthening its border protection and will not tolerate unscrupulous individuals that will attempt to defraud the government of rightful revenues.”
The confiscation of the imported tobacco products is the second operation conducted by the BOC-10 for this year.
On Jan. 6, 2022, Customs authorities also seized a container van full of imported cigarettes from China.
According to Cris Angelo Andrade, BOC-10 spokesperson, the cigarettes, bearing brand name “Titan” was estimated to be worth P8 million, and was also declared as used furniture. It was consigned to a certain Ceri Rey Viola.