Lawmakers over the weekend criticized a foreign tobacco company for allegedly using unsubstantiated data to pin its local rivals.
Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd of Isabela, for one, said Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) might be employing “dirty tactics” against local competitors.
“PMFTC persistently employs dirty tactics against its local rivals, using baseless and extrapolated information after it lost a big share of its dominant market after the Sin Tax Law was implemented,” he said.
“We should not allow these unscrupulous foreigners to undermine the interest of over six million farmers and their beneficiaries who depend on the tobacco industry. This data manipulation is being used against Filipinos. This bullying has to stop,” Albano added.
PMFTC, a joint venture between Philip Morris International and Fortune Tobacco Corp., held a 94-percent market share until Republic Act 10351 or the sin tax reform law was passed in 2012. Its market share has since dwindled to below 80 percent.
Meanwhile, Rep. Raneo Abu of Batangas, vice chairperson of the House ways and means committee, reiterated his statement made during the hearing of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program in March that Congress should rely solely on official and formal data from different government agencies.
“We cannot rely on newspaper clippings and data coming from media. We cannot rely on innuendos. The formal data coming from government agencies is the data. It is the legal document,” Abu said.
One such study, prepared by the United Kingdom-based Oxford Economics, claimed that the government was supposedly losing P15 billion in foregone revenues from illicit trade in the tobacco industry. The study was commissioned by PMFTC itself.