BOC seizes P3B in smuggled vapes

BOC seizes P3B in smuggled vapes
The Bureau of Customs recently raided warehouses in Malabon and Parañaque which yielded smuggled vapes worth P3 billion. Photo from the BOC.
  • The Bureau of Customs seized smuggled e-cigarettes seized from Malabon, Parañaque warehouses
  • In one facility, 1.5 million pieces of Flava brand flavored e-cigarettes were found in Parañaque
  • Government could have collected P780 million in taxes from the smuggled goods

The Bureau of Customs seized some P3 billion worth of smuggled vapes (electronic cigarettes) during simultaneous raids in Malabon and Parañaque warehouses last week.

The vapes were sourced from China.

Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said the bureau’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) were still completing their probe of the warehouses in the two cities.

BOC-CIIS director Verne Enciso said 1.5 million pieces of flavored Flava e-cigarettes were found at the Olivares Compound in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque.

According to Enciso, there were some 1,500 boxes seized, each box containing 100 e-cigarettes.

Enciso said the present market value of each vape is P500, making the total haul in the Parañaque warehouse alone at P750 million.

“Add to that the excise tax that should be collected and the total estimated sum up value would be P1.53 billion,” he said.

The government should have collected some P780 million in excise taxes from the smuggled e-cigarettes, according to Enciso.

As for the Malabon raid, the total value of the haul was pegged at P2.118 billion.

Congress has been holding hearings on the e-cigarettes, which have taken the place of tobacco products, especially among the youth.

While legal in many parts of the US, all marijuana-based products are still illegal in the Philippines.

The measure pushing to legalize medical marijuana in the Philippines has gained some traction in the Senate after 13 senators in late February signified their approval on the committee report submitted by the joint Senate committees on Health and Demography, on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, and on Finance.

For his part, Deputy Customs Commissioner Juvymax Uy said they want to make sure the vape products available to Filipino consumers would be “the safest products in the market.”

READ: BOC implements updated excise taxes for alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes