President Rodrigo Duterte was said to sign an Executive Order (EO) on Nationwide Smoking Ban, just around the same time we are blessed with other good news like the National Broadband Plan, the Maternity Leave Extension, and the Enchanted River Swimming Ban.
Under the Executive Order, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said smoking indoors would also be prohibited aside from public places. We believe it should also include e-cigarettes at vapes since the Department of Health fully recommends their inclusion being found also harmful to health.
Now, there's an obvious "heat" for Mighty Corporation, a local cigarette manufacturer owned by Filipino-Chinese businessmen, for using fake tax stamps on their cigarettes. But how come the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is handling the inspection when the cigarette products are locally made? Imported ingredients? Or are the cigarettes actually imported and just packaged here in the Philippines. Now, they're saying they could not arrest the owner, Wong Chu King, for there are no charges filed yet even though the company has been caught red-handed deceiving the government of tax liabilities.
Duterte ordered his arrest, but it seems there has been a bribery attempt because now they are saying he should not be arrested when Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre stepped in. Duterte denies alleged 'bribery' attempt but we would like to think otherwise.
Atty. Raymond Fortun confirms Mighty Corporation was able to secure a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Manila to stop BOC inspection on its cigarettes. If they have nothing to hide, there is no need for legalities.
According to Aguirre, the owner expressed his willingness to fully cooperate with the government to probe the alleged tax deficiency because of the fake tax stamps discovery. The Philip Morris Philippines competitor has rampantly been using fake tax stamps on all of their products.
The BOC was set to suspend the import accreditation of Mighty Corporation last February for cigarette smuggling. The drive against fake tax stamps for cigarettes has been intensified by the government several weeks ago, and we see Mighty Corporation deceiving the government thus losing billions in tax revenues for the country.
But are the tax stamps the only fake here? What about the cigarettes themselves?
Regardless if they are genuine or not, cigarettes should no longer exist in this world. They should be banned permanently on a global scale since we all know they are harmful to our health. We don't have to enumerate the harmful effects that it causes the body. It is not enough to have photos indicating negative effects printed on cigarette packs, because even those who do not smoke are in danger from second-hand smoke by smokers who have very low IQ to understand that they are not welcome to smoke in public places. Smokers should also be forced to inhale their smoke so there won't be the equally dangerous second-hand smoke that threatens the lives of non-smokers. If smokers want to kill themselves, they should not endanger others. There should never be a smoking section too. No one should be allowed to smoke themselves to death.
However, who will implement the law that has actually been existing for the longest time, but no one has the will and capability to strictly implement it.
The sin tax law had never deterred the continued proliferation of the harmful product because companies like Mighty Corporation found a way to beat the system, and I'm sure they will continue to do that, just as how other products are also capable of going around and twisting the law with their cunning lawyers.
Smoking has been proven to destroy your health and eventually kill you in the long run. This goes the same for second-hand smokers. Cigarettes or tobaccos are just as addicting as drugs, so why make it legal to smoke?
We need a worldwide smoking ban now!