Lawmakers hit ‘data manipulation’ of foreign tobacco firm


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.


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  1. Benedict Cordero on

    Really, now? Data manipulation? It looks more like these lawmakers are the ones trying to manipulate and fool the trusting public who put them in their position. They seem to be abusing their position to protect and defend those benefitting from the illicit cigarette trade business by denying that the problem exists. Is it possible that they themselves are benefitting from it? Surely hope that is not the case here…

  2. Because these lawmakers are not doing their job, some companies or private entities are making an initiative to help solve our country’s tobacco industry problem. And now all of a sudden they’ll appear from nowhere and say that the information was baseless and extrapolated? Where are they the whole time? Do they have the evidence to back up what they’re saying?

  3. Blake Rodriguez on

    At this point it just seems like these officials are involved in a hidden agenda to cover up for the local manufacturer involved in the illicit cigarette trade. At least try to be a little subtle next time, guys.

  4. Meredith Pacheco on

    Stop trying to fool the Filipino masses! It’s a known fact that smuggling and tax evasion has been rampant, and there’s a particular local cigarette manufacturer that has been embroiled in this issue for quite some time now. These officials should remember that they are in their position to serve the country, not some corporation.

  5. These lawmakers are so blatantly biased when it comes the issues of the tobacco industry. They are so quick to discredit anything that will point out the faults of this beloved local cigarette manufacturer.