Police mobile force personnel arrested a resident of Barangay Pangobilian, Brooke’s Point, on Tuesday morning for possessing 42 master cases of illicit Fort cigarettes.

The suspect, who was not named by the City Mobile Force Company (CMFC), was arrested on February 6 at around 6 a.m. along the national road in Sitio Tagumpay, Barangay Inagawan Sub-colony.

The operation was conducted by P/Lt. Raven Payang, border control and 1st Platoon leader and supervised by P/Lt. Col. Socrates Faltado, officer-in-charge of the CMFC.

The contraband was handed over to Police Station 2 (PS2) under the command of P/Capt. Douglas Sabando. In response to this seizure, PS2 has initiated communication with the Bureau of Customs to ascertain the total value of the confiscated contraband.

Annually, the government loses ₱100 billion in revenue due to smuggled, unregistered, and unregulated cigarettes sold in bulk via container vans, small boats called “jungkong,” trucks, vans, or by individual hawkers.

Illegal cigarettes also endanger the domestic tobacco sector and the livelihoods of 2.2 million Filipinos dependent on it.

National Tobacco Administration (NTA) data reveals over 462,000 workers in tobacco cultivation, with an additional 30,000 engaged in trade and manufacturing.

Additionally, nearly 1.7 million individuals partake in distribution and marketing, servicing the extensive network of more than one million sari-sari stores nationwide.

According to industry statistics, cigarette sales in Palawan plummeted from 458.56 million sticks in 2017 to just 123.09 million sticks, marking a 74% decrease. This contrasts sharply with the national average decline of approximately 5% to 6%.

Consequently, this equates to roughly ₱1.01 billion in lost excise taxes annually (calculated at ₱60 per pack).

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covers the police beat and other law enforcement agencies in the province. Her interest includes traveling and photography.