Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos supposedly will be affected if the government makes good its threat to close down homegrown tobacco company Mighty Corp.
Retired Regional Trial Court judge Oscar Barrientos, executive vice president of the embattled firm, over the weekend said about 7,000 employees and 55,000 tobacco farmers, and their estimated 350,000 family members and dependents, rely on Mighty Corp. for their livelihood.
“We call on the Bureau of Internal Revenue [BIR] to act more responsibly in making statements regarding the case of [Mighty Corp.] and take into consideration repercussions of a cancelation of the license to operate of the company,” Barrientos, also the spokesman for the company, added.
“The BIR should consider that this case impacts Mighty’s employees, tobacco farmers and their families, as well as suppliers and distributors who depend on the company,” he said.
Barrientos called on the government to ensure due process for the tobacco firm as it faces charges of tax evasion.
“We reiterate our pledge to fully cooperate with the government. But while we welcome the filing of these charges as an opportunity to clear the name of the company and its officers, we hope that the BIR will also show prudence in the conduct of its probe of the firm,” he said.
Earlier, Mario Cabasal, president of the National Federation of Tobacco Farmers Associations and
Cooperatives, said tobacco farmers supposedly will bear the brunt if Mighty Corp.’s operation is shut down.
“Most of us depend on Mighty for the purchase of our tobacco. They are our biggest buyer of local tobacco. If the government makes good its threat to close down Mighty Corp., tobacco farmers will bear the brunt of the closure,” Cabasal noted.
He said Mighty Corp. is a regular buyer of Virginia and native tobacco.
Considering that the company produces predominantly low-priced brands, according to Cabasal, the cigarette firm is the biggest buyer of local tobacco.