Philippine President Marcos Orders Crackdown on Tobacco and E-cigarette Smuggling

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Philippine President Marcos Orders Crackdown on Tobacco and E-cigarette Smuggling
Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. orders customs and tax bureaus to crack down on tobacco and e-cigarette smuggling.

According to a report from the Philippines News Agency on May 9th, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has instructed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to enhance efforts to combat the smuggling of tobacco and e-cigarette products.


On Wednesday (8th), Marcos stated at the 6th Private Sector Consultation Conference that there is a need to further strengthen efforts to combat smuggling activities. At the same time, Marcos expressed the hope for increased efficiency in combating smuggling cases through the joint participation of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).


The Customs Bureau and the National Tax Bureau will make further efforts so that we can improve our performance in this area.


Special Assistant Frederick Go stated that the Department of Trade and Industry's Consumer Protection Group has committed to deploying more personnel to help monitor the e-cigarette industry. Meanwhile, Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr. also mentioned that his agency has implemented a tax stamp system for e-cigarettes to clean up the market of illegal e-cigarette products.


Additionally, the Department of Agriculture's group (PSAC-ASG) has proposed several suggestions and policy demands to protect the tobacco industry. This includes providing funding for the National Tobacco Administration's (NTA) Sustainable Tobacco Enhancement Program (STEP) under the Republic Act. The organization also calls for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to set registration deadlines for e-cigarette importers and manufacturers, and for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to begin implementing tax requirements on tobacco and e-cigarette products. It emphasizes that monthly reports on the enforcement of these products must be submitted to the Office of the President.


According to reports, the tobacco industry in the Philippines provides livelihood to 2.2 million Filipinos, with tobacco consumption tax accounting for 4% of the government's total revenue. In 2023, this is projected to reach 135 billion pesos (2.35 billion US dollars).


The Philippine government has allocated 50% of the consumption tax to fund universal healthcare and improve facilities.


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