By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY –The Bureau of Customs (BOC) here destroyed Saturday over P4.4 million worth of tobacco products which were recently confiscated from a commercial vessel that arrived here from Jolo, Sulu.
BOC Zamboanga City District Collector Segundo Z. Barte, Jr. said Friday BOC personnel partially destroyed the 142 cases of imported cigarettes worth P4,409,000 million.
“I ordered our police and some BOC personnel to soaked last Friday all the confiscated imported cigar and cigarettes products in used diesel oil and it is now considered pre-condemned. The official condemnation shall follow after receipt of the approval from BOC Manila,” Barte said.
Barte ordered the pre-condemnation of the seized contraband after BOC issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention for violation of Executive Order No. 245, titled Amended Rules and Regulations Governing the Exportation and Importation of Leaf Tobacco and Tobacco Products and Section 117 of RA 10863 in relation to Section 1113 par. (f) and (g) of CMTA.
Barte explained that he ordered the destruction of the imported cigarettes to avoid pilferage because all the BOC warehouses were already filled with smuggled imported rice and sugar.
Barte stressed that the destruction of the seized cigarettes was intended to instill a message to the shippers, which is: “ Secure first an Import Permit with the National Tobacco Administration, otherwise, we will confiscate these products and destroy them”.
Among the cigarettes that were ordered destroyed by Barte were 14 cartoons of B&C brand cigarettes, 18 cartons of Cannon brand, 54 cartons of Fort brand, 23 cartons of Astro Red, 29 cartons of Bravo brand and one Carton of Rich Brand.
According to Barte his office in tandem with other law enforcement agencies here have stepped up their joint campaign against smuggling activities in this part of the country as ordered by BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.