Lawmakers and two prestigious anti-tobacco organizations, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and HealthJustice, decried Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. for allegedly misleading the public and tax authorities.
“Philip Morris should stop misleading governments and the public about its role in tackling the tobacco smuggling problem.” SEATCA said.
Lawyer Irene Reyes, HealthJustice managing director, said there was a conflict of interest to allow tobacco companies to participate in government measures that are designed primarily to regulate them. “This is also a violation of the Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” she said.
House Deputy Speaker Sergio Apostol, of Leyte’s 2nd District, cited a ‘Tobacconomics’ report by the Action on Smoking and Health on how big tobacco companies like PMFTC use questionable data and studies to influence government legislation.
“One part of the report reveals the pseudo economic arguments that multinational tobacco companies tirelessly use such as ‘raising the alarm about counterfeit and smuggled tobacco’ that ‘reduce government tax revenue’,” Apostol said.
Jonathan dela Cruz of the Abakada Partylist decried claims by PMFTC that a local manufacturer was not paying enough taxes to the government.
“I think PMFTC is deliberately confusing the public because it is not only dominant in the premium cigarettes bracket but also in the low-priced category through their Jackpot brand which has 63 percent of the low category market and it wants to hide this by pointing at others,” Dela Cruz said.