By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Military authorities intercepted four vehicles at a checkpoint near the border of this city, and confiscated about 8,250 reams of assorted imported cigarettes worth P4.95 Million.
Bureau of Customs (BoC) Zamboanga City District Collector Segundo Barte, Jr., said the imported cigarettes were about to be transported to the nearby province of Sibugay, Saturday dawn, when intercepted at a checkpoint at Sitio Muti Barangay Licomo, 84 kilometers East of the city by soldiers of the 311th Marine Battalion Landing Team 11.
Barte said the imported cigarettes were found inside a fish transport truck, bound for Sibugay province
He said when inspected by the soldiers, the drivers did not have the pertinent papers to show that the imported tobacco products were legal,
During an investigation conducted by the soldiers, the drivers of the vehicles said the imported cigarettes came from a bodega in Sta Catalina in this city.
Barte said “accordingly, the drivers confessed they were only hired to transport the cigarettes to Ipil, the capital town of Sibugay province.
As this develop, Barte has issued a stern warning against smugglers of imported cigarettes operating in Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi or ZamBaSulTa provinces that the drive against the entry of the illicit goods will not stop for as long he is the BOC collector in this city.
He also said the vehicles used in transporting the goods will be impounded in favor of the government and will sell through public auction.
“The vehicles carrying the goods, we will impound them and sold them in public auction when once the process will be completed,” Barte told newsmen here Saturday afternoon during a brief news conference at his office at the Zamboanga City port area.
He added that the drive against the entry of imported cigarettes is one of the major concerned of BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
He emphasized “ Commissioner Guerrero has made it clear that the entry of imported cigarettes is prohibited and must be confiscated, for violation of Executive Order No. 245 governing the exportation and Importation of tobacco and Tobacco Products” and Section 117 and 1113 paragraphs a and f and of RA 10863 otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) of 2016. x x x