Marlboro backs out of Eraserheads reunion concert

Philip Morris announced Wednesday that it had backed out of its sponsorship of the much-awaited, one-night-only Eraserheads reunion concert on Saturday.

In a press statement, Dave Gomez, Philip Morris Phils. Manufacturing Inc. public affairs and communication manager, said Radiohead Media Solutions Inc. “has agreed to take over as promoter of the Eraserheads reunion concernt.”

“We made the decision to withdraw as promoter and will have no involvement at all in this reunion concert. We wish the Eraserheads and Radiohead Media Solutions Inc. all the best,” Gomez said.

Radiohead Media Solutions Inc. subsequently announced that it had acquired the Eraserheads reunion concert rights and that it will go on as scheduled on Saturday, August 30, at the Bonifacio Global City open field.

Gomez gave no reason for its sponsorship withdrawal, but the move was reached after the Department of Health and tobacco control advocates accused the multinational cigarette firm that its sponsorship was a violation of Republic Act 9211 or Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Alex Padilla said recently that Philip Morris officials can be charged criminally if it pushes through sponsoring the reunion concert.

“I have a warning to the tobacco company. If we are able to prove that this concert is actually sponsored by you, Philip Morris, definitely we will train our guns on you for violating the law,” Padilla announced at a press conference August 17 at the World Health Organization headquarters in Manila.

Padilla said the government will go after Philip Morris officials for allegedly violating the law. “If they’re foreigners, they shall be deported after serving sentence.”

He clarified they will only go after officials of the tobacco company, not the organizers of the concert.

“That is why we only appeal to the organizers of the event to hopefully disassociate themselves from the [tobacco] company. Carry on with the event without the need of a tobacco company‚Äôs sponsorship,” Padilla said.

He said the organizers should lure people, especially the youth, to “some more productive endeavor rather than smoking.”

Padilla said RA9211 prohibits tobacco advertisements in all forms of mass media, including the Internet.

The law, which took effect in 2003, states in section 24 that tobacco company sponsorships are banned starting July 1, 2008.

Padilla said even if the Eraserheads signed a contract before the date, the deal will still be covered by the law because tobacco companies were “advised of the effectivity of the provision.”

In a previous interview, the tobacco company said that promotions through the Internet is not specifically banned by RA9211.

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