In a press statement, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines (FCAP) and the EcoWaste Coalition deplored the buntings of Mighty Corporation, maker of Mighty cigarettes, whose corporate office is located in Sultana St., Barangay Olympia, Makati City.
Republic Act No. 9211, or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, which regulates the packaging, use, sale, distribution and advertisements of tobacco products, specifically bans outdoor advertising materials beginning 1 July 2007, except inside the premises of point-of-sale retail establishments.
Tobacco advertising, under R.A. 9211, “specifically refer(s) to any messages and images promoting smoking, the purchase or use of cigarette or tobacco trademarks brand names, design and manufacturer's names.”
"Such evident breach of the tobacco advertising ban undermines our nation’s efforts to prevent tobacco use and addiction that is killing 10 Filipinos every hour. It is totally disgusting and unconscionable,” said pulmonologist Dr. Maricar Limpin, Executive Director of FCAP.
According to FCAP, Philippines has an estimated 17 million smokers and an average of 10 tobacco-related deaths every hour from diseases such as cancer and emphysema.
“With these shocking figures of bad health and death, we need to ensure that the law is faithfully enforced and public health is prioritized and upheld over and above commercial profits,” Dr. Limpin emphasized.
A photo investigation conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition revealed that Abeja, Barasoain, Colmena, Constancia, Hiwaga, Honradez, J.B. Roxas, Kakarong, Malolos, Novaliches, Obrero, Pateros, Sultana and Trabajo Streets in Barangay Olympia are decorated with “Mighty” buntings in time for the barangay fiesta on May 18.
“Like FCAP, we abhor this blatant use of the barangay fiesta for tobacco advertising in residential streets that obviously seek to promote tobacco consumption by people of all ages and gender for increased sales,” said Aileen Lucero,National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Apart from the repulsive use of the festive occasion to advertise tobacco, we reject single-use buntings that only add to the volume and toxicity of post-fiesta garbage,” she added.
The groups urged the Civil Service Commission to look into the matter to determine possible breach of the CSC-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2010-01, which seeks to protect the bureaucracy against tobacco industry interference.
The groups further urged the Department of Interior and Local Government to issue a circular that will reiterate and remind local government units to comply with the ban on tobacco advertising and the CSC-DOH Joint MC 2010-01.