• April 16, 2024

Push for Harsher Smuggling Penalties

 Push for Harsher Smuggling Penalties
Photo: Džoko Stach from Pixabay

Senators in the Philippines are pushing for harsher penalties for smuggling tobacco products, including making the offenses nonbailable and worthy of a life sentence in jail.
 
Currently, there is a PHP50 million ($1 million) minimum fine and eight years to 12 years of possible jail time for illegal trade.
 
The senators have stated that cigarette smuggling is weakening the campaign to reduce smoking as illicit tobacco products are both cheaper and more dangerous. “There must be a strong crackdown on smuggling and illicit trade of tobacco products,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.
 
“Smuggling hurts local industries and costs jobs,” said Senator Sonny Angara. “If it [smuggled value] exceeds PHP50 million, it can even be considered economic sabotage under a previous law.”
 
The proposed harsher penalties for illicit trade “should be coupled with a strong and consistent enforcement,” according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.