ZAMBOANGA CITY - Police and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) personnel seized an undetermined volume of smuggled cigarettes in a surprise inspection of stalls at the city public market here Wednesday.
BIR-Region 9 Director Aynie Mandajoyan-Dizon said the operation yielded reams of assorted smuggled cigarettes packed in more than 10 large-size trash bags.
"We have yet to conduct an inventory to determine the worth of the confiscated untaxed cigarettes and to compute how much taxes the stall owners will have to pay to the government," Dizon said in an interview.
Dizon said they will also file cases against the stall owners.
"They are entitled to due process. We have to establish prima facie evidence before we file cases," she added.
Mayor John Dalipe said the inspection of market stalls forms part of the campaign to deny smugglers a market for their products.
"We are not only stopping the entry of smuggled cigarettes, but we also deny them where to sell their products," Dalipe said.
Dalipe and Col. Alexander Lorenzo, city police director, accompanied the BIR personnel in inspecting the market stalls selling cigarettes.
Dizon said they previously identified 62 stalls to be inspected at the main public market, but some of them were already closed when the BIR team arrived.
"This is not a one-day campaign. We will come back," Dizon said.
On Jan. 21, police and Bureau of Customs personnel seized some PHP5.5 million worth of smuggled cigarettes near Tictabon Island here with the shipment coming from Jolo, Sulu. (PNA)