By Jun Ramirez
PORAC, Pampanga – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) destroyed here Friday multi-million pesos worth of confiscated unregistered cigarette making-machines and truckloads of untaxed finished products.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez and BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said the destruction for the first time of these expensive devices would discourage scrupulous businessmen from pursuing the illegal trade.
Each of the six demolished gadgets can produce 3,000 sticks of cigarettes per minute.
Criminal charges for tax evasion have either been prepared or filed against the suspected owners of the illegal machines following their seizure from clandestine factories in Pampanga and Pangasinan.
Dominguez, Dulay and other top revenue officials witnessed the destruction of these contraband at the DiGaMa Waste Management Facility here.
The government has been losing huge amount excise and value-added taxes from the tobacco industry due to the rampant distribution of low-priced fake cigarettes with bogus revenue strip stamps.
The massive revenue losses compelled Dulay to form a strike team that exclusively go after the lucrative racket.
Last year, the team seized more than 5,200 master cases of fake cigarettes carrying various brands and several pieces of cigarette-making machines, packaging the filter equipment.
By going hard against illegal manufacture and distribution of fake cigarettes, the BIR prevented revenue losses of up to P20 billion last year.