Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba removed the online listings that advertise the sale of fake cigarette stamps, in response to a request from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
Alibaba in a statement assured the Philippine government that it would continue to exercise vigilance in screening its platforms to weed out illicit ads.
“We are aware from the public media that you recently disclosed an alleged selling of digitally printed fake cigarette tax stamps on our Alibaba.com platform and sent a personal letter to our chairman Jack Ma,” Jin Jianhang, president of the Alibaba Group, said in a letter to Dominguez dated March 30.
“We would like to show our great appreciation in advance that you brought us into attention of this highly important issue,” Jin said.
Jin said after an extensive search taken by the company’s security and platform governance teams, such listings were taken down from both Alibaba.com and AliExpress sites.
“We continue to screen our platforms for the items in question, and once found and their illicit status established, such items will continue to be removed in the future,” Jin said in his letter.
Dominguez, in a March 10 letter to Ma, requested the Chinese e-commerce leader to cooperate with the Philippine government in its campaign against tax cheats by taking down and prohibiting, advertisements on the sale of digitally printed fake cigarette tax stamps from its online selling platforms.
“Advertising and selling of fake tax stamps in the open, through your company’s web portal, provides so much room and easy access for individuals and entities to evade excise tax on cigarettes in the Philippines. Consequently, this will make it much more difficult for the [Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs] to curb excise tax evasion, and cigarette and fake tax stamp smuggling to our country,” Dominguez said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua.
Dominguez also informed Ma of President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to actively pursue individuals and entities evading taxes and duties, including excise taxes levied on cigarettes.
Responding to Dominguez’s request, Jin assured the Finance Secretary in his letter that “all of our marketplaces forbid the listing or sale of illicit items, including fake tax stamps.”
“Regardless on which platform the transgression takes place, infringers face penalties, including permanent store closure. Additionally, we continue to encourage users of our marketplaces and other stakeholders, be they rights holders or government agencies, to make use of the tools available on our platform for reporting infringing items,” Jin said.
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