Republic of the Philippines

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The Republic of the Philippines is a country on over 7,000 islands in southeast Asia, with the capital city of Manila. The population is 94% Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. [1]

PR and lobbying

The Philippines has hired a range of U.S. public relations and lobbying companies to represent it to U.S. administrations.

In September 2005 the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) revealed that on July 25, 2005, the President Mrs. Arroyo had hired the Washington lobbying company Venable for a substantial sum of $75,000 a month.[1]

The contract (see link below) specifies that Venable's work will include "securing grants and congressional earmarks for Charter change." Mangahas notes that Venable will also lobby for "Philippines re-inclusion in the credit facilities of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, secure a Philippine credit ratings upgrade in the U.S. Eximbank, 'create a capability enhancement program for the Armed Forces' and acquire up to $800 million in credit under the U.S. Defense Loan Guarantee program, and 'achieve a similar upgrade program' for the Philippine National Police." [2]

The chairman of the Philippine Senate committee on ways and means, Senator Ralph Recto, defended the contract. "Lobbying is a necessity, not a luxury," he told the Manila Standard Today. [3]

After the contract was revealed, public uproar forced the government to terminate the contract. [4]

The PCIJ also noted that "since 2002, Burson-Marsteller ... has helped Malacanang's public-relations team spruce up Mrs. Arroyo's public image. Secretary Rigoberto Tiglao, Presidential Management Staff chief, had acknowledged that Burson-Marsteller's 12-month contract fee was $800,000, an amount supposedly paid by pro-Arroyo businessmen." [5]

Media

The BBC says of the country's media:

Powerful commercial interests control or influence much of the media. Press freedom is guaranteed under the 1987 constitution. The private press is vigorous, with tabloid newspapers being prone to sensationalism. However, the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the Philippines was on a par with Afghanistan as Asia's "deadliest nation for reporters" in 2006. Officials have set up a task force to tackle violence against journalists.[2]

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

  1. Philippines, National Geographic, accessed December 2007.
  2. Country profile: The Philippines BBC, accessed December 2007.

Tobacco industry activity

Like the other cigarette companies, the Brown & Williamson tobacco company (B&W) targeted children for its cigarette marketing. A 1983 market analysis titled, A Youth Market Lifestyle Survey, shows B&W's intention to create a new brand of cigarette especially to market to youth as young as 15 years in the Philippines. In the document, they refer to the "number of sticks smoked per day" and surveyed youngsters to find what types of media they paid attention to, how often they attended sporting events and concerts and more. A key quote from the document states,

Background The client plans to introduce a new brand of cigarette in the Philippines which will target the youth market. Client thus commissioned a research to unearth consumer information which would generate creative inputs in devising a promotional campaign for the new product... ....Highlights 1. Client's target market for its new brand of cigarettes, which consists of males aged 15 to 29 years who come from upper, middle and upper-lower economic classes, is a mix of extroverts (who indulge in sports, dine and drink out, and go to parties and the disco) and introverts (who spend their leisure time watching television, listening to the radio and reading)...[1]

In July, 2008 pop singer Alicia Keys protested Philip Morris International's (PMI) sponsorship of her concert in Djakarta, Indonesia and PMI was forced to pull down its posters and billboards that promoted the concert. That debacle was hardly over when health advocates started pushing for PMI to end its involvement in yet another concert, the August 30 reunion of the Filipino group Eraserheads, a band so popular in this part of the world that it has been dubbed the "Beatles of the Philippines." People wanting tickets to the free concert were directed to www.marlboro.ph, a web site run by PMI's Philippine subsidiary. To obtain tickets and information, visitors had to provide personal contact information that allows PMI to send them promotional materials for cigarettes. The Eraserheads concert generated buzz on the Internet that often mentioned the Marlboro web site and brand name, conferring a substantial positive publicity upon PMI and its best-selling cigarette brand. But in August, 2008 the Philippines Department of Health warned PMI that it is violating the country's tobacco regulation law, which, as of July 1, 2008 prohibits all forms of tobacco advertising in mass media, including the Internet, places strict restrictions on other tobacco promotional activities and bans tobacco company sponsorship of concerts and other events. [2]

Resources

Related SourceWatch articles

Former US Ambassadors

References

  1. Consumer PulseA Youth Market Lifestyle Survey Report. January 3, 1984. Brown & Williamson Bates NO. 465261571/1674
  2. PR Newswire/MarketWatch Philip Morris International Caught in Philippines in Another Concert Sponsorship August 12, 2008

External links