Illegal cigarette-making equipment dismantled in Cagayan de Oro

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) destroyed several cigarette-making machines and various other tools involved in the illegal production of cigarettes in Cagayan de Oro on August 22.

In a press statement released Monday, BIR officials reported that, with the help of Barangay Bayabas’ DiGaMa Waste Management Facility, they were able to scrap counterfeit cigarettes bearing fake tax stamps, raw materials and packaging supplies as well.

“The destruction of these machines is mandated by law to ensure that these devices can never be used by those with further interest in manufacturing illegal cigarettes,” said Nuzar Balatero, BIR regional director for Cagayan de Oro City, in the statement.

The disposal operation was attended by several BIR officials, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation, Intellectual Property officials, officers from the Philippine National Police, and representatives from the Commission on Audit, National Bureau of Investigation, local government units and the press.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa, who was also present, said that the destruction of the cigarette-making machines was a part of the continued tax enforcement activities of the nation’s largest tax-collection agency, targeted at local cigarette manufacturers operating illegally to avoid paying excise taxes.

“May these enforcement activities serve as a deterrent for others engaged in similar illegal activities from defrauding the government of much-needed revenues. We will remain steadfast in cracking down on the illegal activities of these people to ensure the correct payment of Excise Taxes on cigarettes,” Guballa said.

The aforementioned tools were seized by the BIR STRIKE Team in three different warehouses in Barangay Cugman and Alwana Business Park in Cagayan de Oro, and in Poblacion Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Three Isuzu vans carrying illegal items and a box of fake BIR stamps were also confiscated.