Bill on cigarette price pushed

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Local cigarette maker Mighty Corp. pledged an all-out support for a bill proposing to put a minimum price for cigarettes, saying the measure will rationalize the Philippine tobacco industry and help prevent price undercutting by big industry players.

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The Bulacan-based firm is referring to House Bill 5013 that sets a minimum cigarette price (MCP) of P38 per pack starting January 2015, P44 by 2016, and P51 by 2017 to deny the youth access to cigarettes and support the health advocacy of the excise tax reform law.

The bill was filed by Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona of Bohol, who said the increases in excise and value added taxes, production cost, operating expenses and annual inflation were taken into account in computing the proposed MCP.

“We are all for it. We believe that a minimum floor price for cigarettes will further strengthen the industry and protect local manufacturers. At the same time, we believe it will address health concerns by putting cigarettes farther from the reach of the youth and the poor,” said Oscar Barrientos, Mighty Corp. executive vice president.

The executive said the bill is also being supported by health groups who said the proposed law would complement existing measures regulating smoking.

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