By RAYMUND F. ANTONIO
Manila, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BoC) has confiscated a shipment of fake Marlboro cigarettes that pose extra health hazard to smokers buying them at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) yesterday.
They came from China and valued at around P18 million.
“These were misdeclared as Mono Acetate Filter Rods,” Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said. “Misdeclaration, as defined in the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines, is outright smuggling. Thus, value declaration is no longer an issue in determining whether an alert-order should be issued or not as all misdeclared shipments are subject to immediate seizure by the government,” he added.
The cigarette shipment was consigned to Transocean Export Sales, a trading company based in Intramuros, Manila.
Biazon personally inspected the fake cigarettes together with Deputy Ambassador Trevor Lewis of the British Embassy.
Lewis said that the risk to people’s health of smoking fake cigarettes is even greater because “they don’t have proper filters.”
“In reality, with the proper brand you have proper filters to prevent, offset some of the bad health effects. With this one, they don’t have proper filters.
They were produced as cheaply and as nastily as possible and sold as the real thing,” he said.
Had it reached the UK and sold in its market, Lewis said the UK stands to lose $4 million from the smuggled fake goods. “These counterfeit cigarettes are of American brand but we’re are pretty certain that these cigarettes were destined for the UK, that’s why we are interested,” he said.