Members of the health alliance, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP) warns intensified promotion and marketing of cigarettes delivering bigger profits for the two largest cigarette companies in the country is the ultimate goal of the Philip Morris-Fortune Tobacco merger, with the Filipino people as the all-time loser of the deal.
The group also urged the government to strengthen its monitoring and regulatory functions to prevent the cigarette companies from further undermining the ban on cigarette advertising, promotions and sponsorships and interfering with the legislation and implementation of tobacco control policies.
“Unlike other companies, Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco are peddling products that remain to be the major killer in the country. The consolidation of their strengths will most likely result to increase in their hold on the market that will lead to more Filipinos suffering and dying from tobacco-related diseases,” said Dr. Maricar Limpin, FCAP Executive Director.
Limpin said Philip Morris and Fortune will bring into the merger their strength in public relations through the so-called corporate social responsibility that are meant only to promote their cigarette brands and companies.
“I hope our government officials, particularly in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Health (DOH) will see through this smokescreen. With the merger of the two companies, we expect intensified marketing of their cigarette products that will now cut across the rich and poor markets. I think it is time for the government to uphold the health interests of the Filipino people over the cigarette companies’ profit interests,” Limpin added.
The country’s two biggest tobacco-manufacturing firms have agreed to merge into a single entity that will end up controlling about 90 percent of the cigarette industry in the Philippines. (ENDS)