FAKE. Some of the PHP10 million worth of fake, smuggled cigarettes confiscated in Barangay San Vicente, Orion, Bataan on Monday (June 6, 2022). Lawyer William Balayo, BOC district collector, said on Tuesday seized from a store and a farm resort were 506 master cases of different brands of smuggled cigarettes. (Photo courtesy of BOC-Port of Limay)

LIMAY, Bataan – Operatives from the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Limay and local police swooped down on separate establishments in two areas of Orion town Monday night and confiscated suspected smuggled cigarettes worth several millions of pesos.

Lawyer William Balayo, BOC district collector, said on Tuesday seized from a store and a farm resort in Barangay San Vicente were 506 master cases of different brands of smuggled cigarettes worth more than PHP10 million.

He said the cigarettes from the two establishments were of 25 different brands.

“Ang mga nasabing sigarilyo ay pinaghihinalaang smuggled at peke at ang pagpasok nito sa Pilipinas ay isang paglabag sa Customs Modernization and Tariff Act,” (Those cigarettes were suspected smuggled and fake and the entry here in Philippines is a violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act),” Balayo said in an interview.

Customs operatives served the letter of authority (LOA) issued by BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to the owners of the establishments.

Balayo said prior to the LOA, coordination was made with the Barangay San Vicente authorities.

Members of the Orion municipal police led by Maj. Jeffrey Onde assisted in the operation.

“Nakikiusap kami sa mga mamamayan ng Bataan na huwag magtangkilik ng peke o smuggled na sigarilyo sapagka’t hindi natin alam kung anong mga nakakalasong kemikal o sub-standard na sangkap ang ginamit sa paggawa nito (We are appealing to the residents in Bataan not to patronize fake and smuggled cigarettes because we do not know if the ingredients being used in the manufacturing of these cigarettes have poisonous chemical or substandard),” Balayo said.

The owners of the establishments face cases for smuggling and violation of the Intellectual Property Code, he said. (PNA)