AUTHORITIES seized a total of 1,400 boxes of fake cigarettes in joint operations by operatives of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Negros Occidental, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)-Western Visayas, and Police Station 2 in a warehouse at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation (Bredco) Port in Barangay 2, Bacolod City Thursday afternoon.
BIR Regional Director Antonio Jonathan Jaminola, said they initially received a report claiming that the warehouse was manufacturing and selling fake cigarettes prompting their office, with the assistance of the CIDG, to monitor the operations and after gathering enough evidence they proceeded with the raid.
Jaminola pointed out all of the cigarette packages have the fake documentary stamp.
It has also been noticed that some of the cigarettes have the same serial numbers, which further proves suspicion that the items are fake.
Aside from the fake cigarettes, authorities also seized hundreds of boxes containing other items such as filter rods, staple wires, razor blades, and hand saws.
BIR officials also recovered a Toyota Revo, wherein the plates was later confirmed “clean” with the police Highway Patrol Group's database of stolen vehicles.
The seized items were also reported to have been undeclared by its owner, whom officials have requested not to be identified.
Jaminola also said the fake cigarettes would bring a total of P14 million in excise tax alone if they weren't able to seize them.
He further added the manufacturer of the fake cigarettes could be penalized for P140 million and could also be charged with tax evasion.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Pico, spokesperson of Bacolod City Police Office said the operatives are still conducting a further investigation and inventory of the recovered contraband.
He said appropriate charges will be filed against the manufacturer, whom he refused to be named.
He added the Philippine National Police along with other government agencies are intensifying its monitoring to prevent the entry of contraband in Bacolod and Negros Occidental.