• May 23, 2024

Philippines: Illegal Cigarettes Cost Country Billions of Pesos

 Philippines: Illegal Cigarettes Cost Country Billions of Pesos

Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

The Philippine government is losing about PHP26 billion in taxes annually due to illicit cigarettes, according to The Manila Bulletin.

About 13 percent of cigarettes sold in the Philippines are illegal, stated PBA Party-List Representative Jericho Jonas B. Nograles, citing a Euromonitor International report.

“Euromonitor estimates [that] in some areas in Mindanao, six of 10 cigarettes sold in retail are illegal,” Nograles said.

Outside Mindanao, illegal tobacco trade is prominent in Bataan (31.6 percent), Palawan (24.8 percent), Nueva Ecija (22.2 percent) and Zambales (11.5 percent).

In 2021, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected nearly PHP180 billion in excise taxes from the tobacco industry. The BIR also estimated that the government lost PHP3.8 billion in revenue from 2018 to 2021 due to illicit trade.

Meanwhile, the Customs’ apprehensions on illicit tobacco products reported foregone excise taxes of PHP2.9 billion from 2019 to 2022.