A police personnel checks the bags containing the smuggled cigarettes in Aborlan town. (Contributed photo)

The Aborlan Municipal Police Station intercepted 90 reams of smuggled cigarettes aboard a RORO bus on the national highway of Barangay Magsaysay, Aborlan, at 8:30 p.m. last night, April 15.

The suspect was identified as Asna Hassan, 35, a resident of Purok Maligaya, Brgy. Iraray, Sofronio Española, Palawan.

According to the Aborlan police report, they were conducting a checkpoint in the area when they spotted the RORO bus traveling from Brgy. Rio Tuba, Bataraza, to Puerto Princesa City. The bus slowed down upon noticing the police presence.

“Naghintay kami ng halos 30 minutes sa bus para dumaan sa amin at ma check namin. Nung huminto na sila sa check point, nagtaka agad ang personnel namin kung bakit ang tagal nilang nakahinto, umamin na agad sila na may karga nga silang mga kontrabando,” said a member of the Aborlan Municipal Police Station, who declined to be named.

Upon checking the entire vehicle, police found 80 reams of New Berlin and 10 reams of Fort cigarettes hidden in sacks. The total value of the confiscated cigarettes amounted to ₱29,700.

Recent efforts to curb cigarette smuggling in Palawan have been substantial. A notable operation by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in February 2024 led to the recovery of six master cases of allegedly smuggled cigarettes with an estimated market value of ₱120,000. These cigarettes were found abandoned under a tarpaulin in Barangay Calasaguen, Brooke’s Point.

The Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) is also stepping up its efforts by considering the establishment of a task force to specifically combat the smuggling of cigarettes in the city.

This comes in response to the increasing challenges posed by the province’s geography, which facilitates smuggling activities.