Three containers of illicit cigarettes and various brands of vape products were intercepted by the customs bureau on Tuesday.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) said its Manila International Container Port (MICP) intercepted the smuggled cigarettes, which have an estimated value of ₱791 million.

They were discovered after information were received by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service of MICP (CIIS-MICP) under Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy.

Records disclosed that the shipment arrived at the MICP on May 11, 2024. The shipment was said to contain 3,845 cases of tobacco products. However, upon physical examination, it was found to actually contain 4,215 master cases of cigarettes and 1,053 master cases of heat sticks.

Moreover, it was further observed that the subject cigarettes and heat sticks do not bear mandatory printed graphic health warnings on its packaging in violation of R.A. 11900 or the “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act of 2022” as implemented by Department of Trade and Industry, Administrative Order No. 22-16 series of 2022 and RA 10643 or “The Graphic Health Warnings Law of 2014.”

Upon verification with the National Tobacco Administration (NTA), it was discovered that consignee of record is not a registered importer of tobacco and other tobacco related products, in violation of NTA Board Resolution 079-2005.
The MICP, under the leadership of District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan will continue to support directives of BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio of intensified vigilance against all smuggling attempts, including the active prosecution of corresponding criminal and administrative cases against personalities involved.

Commissioner Rubio stated, “Our vigilant team is committed in upholding regulations and safeguarding consumers from potentially hazardous consumer products. This seizure aligns with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to beef up our anti-smuggling efforts against illicit vape and tobacco products.”

A Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) will be issued against the subject shipment for violation of Section 117 (Regulated Importation) in relation to Section 1113 of RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), RA 11900 or the “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act of 2022” as implemented by Department of Trade Industry (DTI) Administrative Order No. 22-16 series of 2022, RA 10643 or “The Graphic Health Warnings Law of 2014 and NTA Board Resolution no 079-2005.