Phillip Morris Defies Advertising Ban. Insults All Filipinos


UPDATE: Phillip Morris backs out of the Eraserheads Concert

It seems that some people, multinationals specially, have very little regard for other people.

In the head offices of the tobacco giant Phillip Morris, for instance, cigarette advertising has long been banned and the society has long recognized the justness of such prohibition. For sure, the private school kids of these tobacco executives know that cigarette smoking is dangerous to people's health and if asked, can properly explain why they should not be allowed to advertise.

Despite that, Phillip Morris in the Philippines is acting as if an advertising ban is a new addition to their vocabulary and is acting like a misguided minor. As clearly stated in Republic Act No. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, Cigar companies are prohibited from sponsoring sports, cultural, and artistic events of individual or team athletes, artists and performers.

Still, the company is sponsoring the reunion concert of the group Eraserheads. To make matters worse, people looking for tickets are being asked to visit the tobacco company's website, declare themselves to be smokers and agree to receive information and marketing materials from the company. Does Phillip Morris really think that they have a just cause, or do they simply have a low regard to the intelligence of the Filipino? do they really think that they can get away with this?

It is a good thing that the government is being tough on this matter. The Department of Health (DOH) has promised criminal prosecution against the officers of Phillip Morris specifically, its president, general manager and board of directors.

I hope that the government, with the help of the private sector remains tough in this instance. In a country where 240 people die every day from tobacco related illness, where the government spends more money to help those suffering from cigarette related illness (compared to the taxes collected), it is time that those who promote the proliferation of smoking is handled the way they should be- strapped with a tight leash.

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