Despite the uproarcoming from various sectors, the one-night reunion concert of the Eraserheadswill push through on August 30 as planned. The event willtake place at the Bonifacio Global City Open Grounds, however, not at the CCP OpenGrounds as previously announced.
But while overzealousfans are rejoicing in anxious anticipation of the momentous occasion,supporters of the law barring tobacco companies from sponsoring major eventsare protesting the involvement of Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing, Inc. (PMPMI)in the concert.
As previouslyreported, the company's flagship brand, Marlboro, is being touted as themastermind behind the grand rock n' roll happening.
In a statement issuedby the Department of Health (DOH) last week, Undersecretary Alexander Padillaissued a stern warning against PMPMI: "If we are able to show andprove that this concert is actually sponsored by you, by Philip Morris, then wewill truly train our guns on you for clearly violating the law."
DOH cited Republic ActNo. 9211, otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, as the reason PMPMI should withdraw from the venture.
RA 9211 prohibitstobacco companies from sponsoring sports, cultural, and artistic events ofindividuals or team athletes, artists and performers since any sponsorshipendeavor would practically entail "advertisement or promotion of any cigaretteor tobacco company, tobacco product or tobacco use, name, logo or trademarksand other words, symbols, designs, colors or other depictions commonlyassociated with or likely to identify with a tobacco company."
Dr. Maricar Limpin, whois the chairperson of the Council on Tobacco or Health and Air Pollution,likewise appealed to the members of the Eraserheads to disassociate themselvesfrom PMPMI, which would consequently halt the reunion concert.
"Considered one of themost influential bands in the country, Eraserheads has become a role model ofsorts for our young, I hope they will rise up to the challenge, do more thanplay music and help young Filipinos reach their potential—which they cannotachieve when they're ill, or worse, dead," reasoned Limpin.
18 AND ABOVE. Last week, PMPMI public affairs and communicationsmanager, Dave Gomez, issued a statement defending the company's participationin the reunion concert. The statement was printed in full by entertainmentcolumnist Ricky Lo in the entertainment section of the Philippine Star lastSaturday, August 9.
"In response tonumerous inquiries from the public including the media, we confirm that theEraserheads will be performing in a one-night only event as part of ourMarlboro Nation promotions which we have been running for the past two yearsexclusively for our adult smokers.
"The event is not opento the general public. Access to the event is age-restricted, strictly byinvitation only and intended for members of PMPMI's adult smokers' database,trade and business partners, and selected adult guests. Invites to the eventwill be distributed exclusively through PMPMI's website, www.marlboro.com.ph, which is restricted only to persons 18 yearsold and above. Invites will be issued free of charge, with a correspondingcontrol number, and will be non-transferable. For admission to the eventitself, invitees are required to present the personalized invite containingtheir name and birth date and a corresponding government-issued ID forverification. The event will be held on August 30 at the Bonifacio Global Cityopen grounds in Taguig City."
Mr. Gomez argued thatthe company is not violating RA 9211, citing the provisions stated in Section23 of the said Act:
"Promotions must bedirected only to persons at least eighteen (18) years old. No person beloweighteen (18) years old or who appear to be below eighteen (18) years old mayparticipate in such promotions. The participants in promotions must be requiredto provide proof of age."
As for the sponsorshipissue raised by some, Mr. Gomez corrected the notion by saying that the companyis not acting as event sponsor but rather, as a promoter—two completelydifferent terms as defined by the law.
"RA 9211 allows tobaccopromotions with restrictions. On the other hand, tobacco sponsorship is notallowed," noted Gomez.
The statement furtheradded, "Aside from the provisions on promotion that clearly allows us to stagethe performance, we are not making a contribution to a third party. We areorganizing the event ourselves and the event will not take place without thesupport given to it by PMPMI.
"The Eraserheads performanceis not a form of sponsorship. PMPMI's participation in the event is not as asponsor, but as a promoter. And this promotional event is open only to persons18 years old and above. If any person will present or try to present afalsified or fake invite or government ID, PMPMI will not hesitate tocriminally prosecute the offender to the full extent of the law."