Philippine Tobacco Institute Hails Court Ruling On Cigarette Ads Ruling

March 4, 2008 at 10:37 am | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

MARIKINA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 04, 2008) – The Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI) on Tuesday hailed a recent ruling by the Marikina Regional Trial Court (RTC) permitting cigarette advertising signs on top of convenience stores.

It said the decision on outdoor tobacco advertising is a clear ruling that cigarette advertising signs on stores and other similar materials at point of sale outlets are allowed by law.
“We welcome the decision. The court has spoken and it is now incumbent on all stakeholders to abide by the ruling,” PTI President Rodolfo Salanga said in a statement.
“This simply means signages on top of sari-sari stores are permitted,” Salanga said.
With marketing restrictions imposed by the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (TRA), Salanga said the ruling will guide their member cigarette companies in responsibly marketing their products to their adult customers.
Salanga said Marikina RTC Judge Alice Gutierrez finally cleared ambiguities on the definition of the word ‘premises’ under the TRA or Republic Act 9211.
The ruling settled the dispute on the term’s definition within the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco (IACT), the body created to oversee the implementation of the TRA.
Fortune Tobacco Corp. (FTC) earlier instituted a declaratory relief action with the Marikina Regional Trial Court on permissible advertising within the premises of point-of-sale establishments to secure clarity on differing views.
FTC posited that the word “premises” must be given its common ordinary meaning.
Judge Gutierrez said that “the term ‘premises’ is clearly visible in the text of Sec. 1.18 of the Implementing Rules & Regulations of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 as plain and unmistakable as the nose on a man’s face.”
This section defines “premises” as a “tract of land and the building and buildings thereon, including the open spaces between buildings located on the same tract of land and within the perimeter of the said track of land.”
“This Court fails to see how a different interpretation could arise even if the plain meaning rules were disregarded and the law subjected to interpretation,” the judge said.
She also stressed that “the interpretation of the law subscribed to by respondents is too restrictive. It is an elementary rules that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal, their meaning must be derived from the language employed and the statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says.”
“To go beyond the clear and ordinary import of the words in fact used and in this case with a clear and definite meaning imparted to them the very law making authority would be tantamount to transcending the words of the legislature. In effect, we would essentially be on un-chartered waters.”
“Simply put, under the statute it is clear that the area where permissible outdoor advertising may be placed is broad enough to include all areas within the perimeter of said track of land where a paying patron can purchase or obtain tobacco products. Other than that, no other condition has been imposed by the law.”
Anti-tobacco advocates wanted cigarette advertising signs removed from stores and public places and have urged Congress to pass a law that will compel tobacco firms to put a bigger warning on label saying that “cigarette smoking kills.” (With a report from Mark Navales)

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