BIR, NBI raid fake cigarette factory

P2.5-B OPERATIONS SEIZED

BUGALLON—An estimated P2.5-billion worth of fake cigarettes and machines were seized and 28 persons were arrested in a raid conducted by joint elements of the National Bureau of Investigation Intellectual Property Rights Division (NBI IPRD) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in a factory in Barangay Portic here Wednesday.

At least 28 individuals (23 Filipinos and 5 Chinese Nationals) were caught working inside the factory.

Armed with mission order signed by Arnel Guballa, BIR Deputy Commissioner, the raiding party entered the premises of the cigarette factory reportedly owned by one Dong Calugay.

The factory used as its front a piggery where a private road was constructed to lead to it.

In a GMA TV interview, Glenn Ricarte, chief of NBI IPRD, said the materials and ingredients used in the manufacture of fake cigarettes have no assurance they passed quality standards.

The factory reportedly manufactured no lower than 20,000 cigarette sticks daily. These are sold in Regions 1 and 2 and in Metro Manila.

The raiding team confiscated equipment for cigarette manufacture, i.e. packing machines, filter rods, cutfiller, trays, etc. and packed cigarettes that carried fake brands of Winston, Mighty, Marvel, Fortune, Winsboro and Camel.

Also confiscated during the raid were several boxes of fake tax stamps.

NBI Dagupan Chief Rizaldy Jaymalin confirmed in an interview Thursday that he sent three of his men to accompany the NBI team from Manila.

Portic Punong Barangay Edilberto Orduña, thanked the BIR and NBI after the successful operation that lead to the closure of the said establishment.

Orduña said, the factory, surrounded by mango trees, is situated inside the property of Calugay where one needs to pass through two gates is not visible from the main barangay road.

In the apprehension report of BIR, the owner, Dong Calugay and several John Does, violated the National Revenue Code of 1997 because of no business registration, possession of unregistered / counterfeit stamps, possession of unregistered cigarette products and unregistered manufacturing of tobacco products.

Barangay folks were unaware about the existence of the factory saying what they only knew was the piggery operation. (PhilStar Wire Service/Nora Dominuez)

 

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