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P142-M Mighty cigarettes destroyed

DAVAO CITY – More than 4.7 million packs or 9,400 cases of cigarettes owned by Mighty Corp. valued at more than P142 million were destroyed at the Geocycle Compound of Holcim Philippines Inc. in Barangay Bunawan here yesterday.

The cigarettes were destroyed through Holcim’s “co-processing” thermal treatment which, it said, ensures the total thermal destruction of waste materials, reduces toxic gas emissions, and land and groundwater pollution. The ashes will be used as fuel to produce cement.

The cigarettes with counterfeit stamps were discovered in a warehouse owned by Sunshine Cornmill Co. Distribution in General Santos City in a joint operation conducted by members of Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs last March 6.

“The incineration we will witness today is intended to deliver this message: Tax evasion does not pay. We will confiscate the offending products and destroy them. No one will profit from the commission of a crime,” said Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez in a message read by Assistant Secretary Kelvin Lee of the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Dominguez said the confiscated cigarettes – Mighty Menthol 100s, Marvels Menthol, Marvels FK, and King Full Flavor – have an estimated excise tax value of P1.394 billion, including penalties.

“The decision to incinerate these confiscated cigarettes came easily. We imposed six taxes on these products in part to protect health of our people. It would be wrong to release these products to the market,” he said.

The Finance chief said this was not the largest pile of cigarettes confiscated from Mighty Corp. He said the government also seized 66,245 cases in San Simon, Pampanga and 163,183 cases in San Ildefonso, Bulacan but he noted there were also smaller stockpiles confiscated in Tacloban City and Cebu. Each case contains 500 packs of cigarettes.

Dominguez said these tobacco products with fake stamps represent billions of potential government revenue losses and warned that they will not hesitate to seize and destroy other tobacco products of erring companies who fail to pay the corresponding excise taxes.