CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – At least five possible charges will be filed against the operators of the cigarette-making facility that was raided by authorities in Zone 6, Barangay Mohon, Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental, on July 25, the Bureau of Internal Revenue said Friday.
In a statement, the BIR Revenue Region 16 said those responsible for the manufacturing of cigarettes and chewing tobacco will be facing violations for the various sections of the tax code, including unlawful pursuit of business, failure to file excise tax return, unlawful possession of articles subject to excise tax without payment of tax, unlawful possession of spurious or fake internal revenue stamps, and attempt to evade excise tax.
“We are coordinating with the NBI-10 in determining the identities of those responsible,” the Bureau said.
The cigarette manufacturing facility was part of the alleged illegal operation that also included the production of a
popular candy that was raided by a joint team of local government officials, police, BIR, and National Bureau of Investigation-10 (NBI-10) on Thursday.
Armed with search warrants, the raiding team went inside two buildings that contained equipment and materials believed to be used in the production of candies, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco.
The raid on Thursday was carried out on the strength of two search warrants issued by a local judge on July 24, 2019.
Mohon village chairman Francis Jerson Sabio said they have heard rumors of manufacturing of candies and other products inside the seven-hectare compound of the Timberwood Development Corporation, owned by Taiwanese Huang Teng Pee, within the Phividec Industrial Estate area.
“All we have was hearsay since we haven’t seen the manufacturing operation itself,” Sabio said, adding that Timberwoods started its business in the late 1990s but it shut down its plywood processing about two years ago.
Huang, said Sabio, decided to rent out the warehouses to recoup his losses.
A few months ago, the Mohon barangay council and the Phividec management conducted a joint inspection on the Timberwood compound, but according to Sabio they found no evidence of manufacturing activities as some of the warehouses were locked.
He said Timberwood and the companies that operate inside the compound have not secured barangay clearance from them.
During the raid, machines, materials, and ingredients used in making candy, chewing tobacco, and cigarettes were found in at least two warehouses.
Also confiscated on-site were plastic bags full of candies and boxes of cigarettes bearing brands sold on the market.
Philippine National Police-10 spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mardy Hortillosa said the raiding team is still searching for the persons behind the alleged illegal manufacturing operation.
Hortillosa said the operator of the manufacturing facility will be facing charges for violation of Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. (davaotoday.com)