A TOTAL of P 142.440 million worth of Mighty Corporation cigarettes that had been seized from a warehouse in General Santos City due to excise tax liability were destroyed and burned at Holcim Philippines plant in Tibungco, Davao City yesterday, November 26.

About 9,496 cases or about 4.748 million packs of Mighty Corporation cigarettes specifically of Mighty Menthol 100’s, Marvels Menthol, Marvels FK, and King Full Flavor that had a total excise tax liability of P1.394 billion, including the penalty, were seized March 6 of this year from Sunshine Cornmill Co., Distribution Inc. a warehouse in General Santos City that was leased by Mighty Corporation. The cigarettes turned weigh a total of 134 metric tons.

These cigarettes were seized in a joint operation done by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The Department of Finance (DOF) tapped Holcim Philippines Davao to have these destroyed cigarettes undergo cement co-processing. This is "the simultaneous thermal treatment of qualified waste materials and production of clinker at extremely high temperature, leaving no trace of waste."

The energy produced from burning the cigarettes will be used as fuel by Holcim Philippines in producing cement. Burning of the entire seized quantity will be done in a span of 15 days.

"The decision to incinerate these confiscated cigarettes came easily. We imposed sin taxes on these products in part to protect the health of our people. It would be wrong to release these products to the market. The incineration we will witness today is intended to deliver this message: tax evasion does not pay. We will confiscate the offending products and destroy them. No one will profit from the commission of a crime,” said DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III in a statement read by Assistant secretary of the office of executive secretary attorney Kelvin Lee.

"I would like to emphasize that this is not the last incineration that will happen. All tobacco products found to have been produced without its manufacturer paying the corresponding amount of taxes will be promptly confiscated and destroyed. The men and women of our revenue agencies are dedicated to do their work and to do the job right," he added.

Holcim Philippines clarified that the process they are going to do is not incineration but cement co-processing.

Dominguez, through Lee, also stated that a warehouse in San Simon, Pampanga had earlier confiscated 66,245 cigarette cases, San Ildefonso, Bulacan with 163,183 cases, and still smaller stock piles in Tacloban and Cebu.

Dominguez also said the government targets to gain over P30 billion in additional revenues from Mighty’s tax settlement once the value-added tax are paid – the biggest tax settlement sum to be paid by a single corporation entity in the history of the country.