Customs destroys P595-M smuggled cigarettes

ZAMBOANGA. The Bureau of Customs leads the destruction of some P595.22 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga City on Thursday, June 13. A photo handout shows firemen drenched in water while heavy equipment repeatedly crushed the cigarettes, which were later disposed of at the sanitary landfill of the city government.
ZAMBOANGA. The Bureau of Customs leads the destruction of some P595.22 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga City on Thursday, June 13. A photo handout shows firemen drenched in water while heavy equipment repeatedly crushed the cigarettes, which were later disposed of at the sanitary landfill of the city government. SunStar Zamboanga

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) has led the destruction of some P595.22 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga City.

The destruction was held at a BOC-rented warehouse in Baliwasan village, Zamboanga City on Thursday, June 13.

BOC-Port of Zamboanga District Collector Arthur Sevilla said the smuggled cigarettes were seized through maritime patrol operations and inter-agency checkpoints from November 2023 to April 2024 in Zamboanga Peninsula and in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, which are part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The confiscated smuggled cigarettes consisting of more than 8,816 master cases and 1,014 reams were manually shredded with a cutter, drenched in water, and repeatedly crushed by an excavator heavy equipment in the presence of officials and representatives of all partner agencies.

Sevilla said the unauthorized and potentially hazardous contrabands are disposed of in accordance with environmental regulations and public safety measures.

“We would like to enlighten the public that we are not allowed to burn these cigarettes as per Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Health,” Sevilla said.

The cigarettes were then disposed of in the local government-owned sanitary landfill in Salaan village, Zamboanga City.

He said that with the firm directive of BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio to ensure transparency and credibility of the activity, the BOC-port of Zamboanga has been conducting the disposal of smuggled cigarettes, through a public condemnation activity in the presence of all partner agencies including the Commission on Audit.

The destruction on Thursday was the first conducted by the BOC-port of Zamboanga together with its partner agencies for the year 2024.

The last destruction of confiscated smuggled cigarettes was held on November 30, 2023. (SunStar Zamboanga)

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