• Group seeks more tobacco-control laws


    A report indicating the extent of a multinational tobacco company’s profits in Asia should move the Philippine government to stop the cigarette industry from raking heaps of money at the expense of public health, according to a tobacco control advocacy group.

    The Bangkok-based Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) recently revealed that Asia has become Philip Morris International’s (PMI) virtual “cash cow” with the region providing 34.3 percent or $10.5 billion of the firm’s $31 billion net revenue in 2013.

    “The SEATCA report showed PMI sold 880 billion sticks of which 301 billion were shipped in Asia where majority of its patrons are from low-income families… With 10 Filipinos, mostly poor, dying of smoking every hour—these factors should be reasons enough for our solons to make a stand and protect the people’s health,” said Emer Rojas, president of New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP).

    Rojas, a cancer survivor and a former smoker, said the Philippines continues to lag behind its neighbors in tobacco control because Congress is too slow in passing laws that will deter tobacco consumption.

    Among others, Rojas urged Congress to pass a law requiring tobacco firms to place graphic health warnings in tobacco products.


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    1. Carter Gumabay on

      How can they expect the Sin Tax Law to succeed in curbing smoking in the country, when our lawmakers just turn the other way when they hear of instances like Mighty Corp supposedly declaring the wrong figures of production, allowing them to skip on the right taxes and sell their products at extremely low prices?

    2. Blake Rodriguez on

      What’s hurting this cause to lessen smoking is the government’s inability (or is it refusal?) to follow through with the laws that are imposed. What is the point of implementing the Sin Tax Law if Mighty Corp. is just allowed to work around it – work their magic and make up for so-called losses through questionable means – and get away with selling at P1 per stick, when all the figures say it’s impossible to do so unless they are making up for it elsewhere?

    3. Charity Napalan on

      The new Sin Tax Law was meant to raise the retail price of cigars and cigarettes beyond the reach of adolescents who are considered the most vulnerable to smoking risks. However a cigarette company in Bulacan, Mighty Corp., mysteriously could afford to sell its cigarettes at a dirt-cheap price despite the increase in the excise taxes for low-price brands and yet our government seems to tolerate this irregular practices. Wonder how will it slow down the consumption of smoking then? A tax law pretends to be health related!

    4. The STL was supposed to discourage smoking by increasing cigarette prices, but instead, companies like Mighty found a way to go around the law and sell their products at a very low price. And now they want to pass another law when they haven’t even plugged the STL’s loopholes yet.

    5. Anna Lisa Marquez on

      The real problem is that certain companies like Mighty engage in questionable trade practices – underdeclaring production and undervaluing imports – and therefore can afford to sell their cigarettes at low prices. The STL was designed primarily to discourage smoking especially among the youth and the poor, but it’s not working because the government is not doing anything to come after these companies breaking the law.

    6. Meredith Pacheco on

      Cigarette consumption is still high because there are illicit cigarettes still in the market. Despite the increased taxes imposed by the Sin Tax Law, there are companies like Mighty who sell their cigarettes dirt cheap, pointing to the possibility that the company has been engaging in fraudulent practices to work around having to pay the right excise tax.