Intensified anti-smuggling efforts seen

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Bureau of Customs district office here is requesting personnel from the police and military manning the different checkpoints in the entire Zamboanga peninsula or Region 9 to inspect vehicles going in and out of the region to prevent the possible entry of smuggled goods, particularly cigarettes to the city and region in general.

BoC Zamboanga City district collector Segundo Barte Jr. said that his office has appealed to the authorities in the region to help the BoC prevent the entry of smuggled cigarettes in the region.

Barte adopted the new strategy as part of BoC’s mission on border control and to further minimize the sale and distribution of smuggled cigarettes in public markets region-wide.

“How do we know if the smuggled tobacco products are getting inside the region through land transportation already and no longer through watercraft?” Barte said. “We need to adopt the measures to further deter the entry of smuggled cigarettes to the region coming from the adjacent regions.”

According to the BoC here, the new measures have to be adopted after they observed that the sale and distribution of smuggled cigarettes continued in the region.

A BoC study showed that smugglers are enjoying P40,000 to P45,000 profit per master case of smuggled cigarettes with a capital of only P5,000 to P7,000 per master case.

Barte said their campaign against the entry, sale, and distribution of smuggled cigarettes in the Zamboanga peninsula and in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces will continue and will be sustained.

Just last week, BoC and police authorities foiled the entry of 500 master cases of smuggled cigarettes in the city and in General Santos City coming from Sulu province worth P22.5 million.

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