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HomeUnliNews PampangaP4.8-B worth of seized fake cigarettes destroyed in Pampanga

P4.8-B worth of seized fake cigarettes destroyed in Pampanga

PAMPANGA — Some P4.8 billion worth of fake cigarettes, raw materials and cigarette-manufacturing machines were burned in a fire that gutted three warehouses in Barangay Mitla, Porac, Pampanga.

The fire started at 1:00 p.m. and lasted for 15 hours despite efforts by firefighters from this town and from other towns and cities in Pampanga to control it.

The razed products were confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in raids against manufacture and distribution of fake cigarettes in different parts of the country over the past several years and serve as pieces of evidence against the suspects in court.

The pieces of evidence include the P1.3B worth of fake cigarettes and raw materials seized by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the BIR in Mabalacat City on June 24, 2021.

They were being kept in the warehouses of Digama Waste Management Services and the Greenleaf 88 Non-Hazardous Waste Disposal inside a 4-hectare compound here for safekeeping. The two companies also keeps pieces of evidence for Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco against those who copied their products.

It was learned from a source who refused to be identified that the gutted warehouses contained some P4.8 billion of confiscated products from Pampanga, Bulacan and Cavite.

Robert Gaza, owner of Greenleaf 88, said only several security personnel reported for work on Monday since it was a non-working legal holiday.

“Yung mga security personnel napansin na may usok sa bandang likuran ng mga warehouse na magkakadikit bandang 1:00 p.m. Nung lumapit sila para tingnan, nabigla sila na mabilis nang kumakalat na ang sunog sa loob at labas ng isang warehouse,” he said.

Gaza said the security personnel immediately notified him and the fire department about the fire.

“Nagsidatingan po ang mga fire trucks ng Porac at yung galing sa ibang bayan at lungsod sa Pampanga para pagtulungan na patayin ang sunog pero nahirapan sila dahil mabilis na kumalat ang apoy sa loob ng mahigit 2,400 square meters area ng mga warehouse,” he said.

Porac Fire chief Luna Lumba said initial investigation showed that the fire started from inside one of the warehouses.

“Mahirap pong i-put out ang apoy dahil puno ng combustible materials ang loob ng mga warehouse. Nakita naman po nyo na halos walang tigil ang pagbalik-balik ng mga fire trucks at inikutan na ang mga warehouse pero very persistent talaga ang sunog,” another firefighter said. (UnliNews Online)

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