THE Bureau of Customs (BOC)–Collection District XII (Davao, General Santos, Parang and Mati) confiscated reams of illicit cigarettes nearly worth P19 million at a motorized banca along the territorial waters of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

In a report provided by BOC, the bureau's Water Patrol Division (WPD) was monitoring the gulf of Davao Coast when it sighted a low-lying kneel banca "MV Amiesha" and its cargo covered with tarpaulin. Upon inspection, crew members failed to present legal documents for the alleged smuggled cigarettes.

The master cases of cigarettes were then seized in violation of Section 117 of Republic Act 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."

District Collector Erastus Sandino Austria already issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the smuggled cigarettes.

The agency is strengthening its implementation against attempted smuggling of any form.

“BOC continues to strengthen its border protection measures to guard the public welfare against smuggled contraband and to prevent revenue leakages caused by illegal importation,” Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said in a statement.

Austria, in a previous report, said the bureau seized around P85 million worth of smuggled cigarettes from January to October 2022, making it the highest worth of smuggled goods for that year. RGL