Quantcast
Latest Stories

Holy smoke! Where have cigarettes gone?

By

DAVAO CITY—Still dying for a smoke?

Either you kick the habit now or you chew gum for a week. Hopefully by then, your favorite stick will be back in the market—except that it will cost you more.

Cigarette smokers were finding it hard to find their favorite brands here and in other parts of Southern Mindanao Thursday because most wholesalers and retailers claimed they had run out of supply.

Major cigarette brands started to disappear from stores here shortly after Christmas—days before the sin tax law came into effect.

The department manager of a major mall and grocery store here, with branches in other parts of Mindanao and the Visayas, said they had run out of stock and that their sources had indicated their supplies would not be available until next week.

“All our branches in Mindanao and [the] Visayas have no stocks now,” said the manager, who declined to give her name for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

Pity the drinkers, too

It isn’t only cigarettes that have disappeared from their inventory but alcoholic drinks as well, such as Emperador Light and Tanduay Rhum, she said.

“By next week, the supply could return to normal but the prices would be higher than usual,” the manager said.

She said the price increase was caused by the implementation of the sin tax law, which took effect on New Year’s Day.

In another mall, which used to sell Marlboro Red 20s at P308 per ream of 10 packs before Christmas, stocks started to appear on Thursday.

Well and good—except that each ream now sells at P400.40.

Price doesn’t matter?

A cashier told the Philippine Daily Inquirer the stocks were new but were being sold at a higher price based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

The new price didn’t seem to bother one smoker much.

Renier, 40, who has been smoking for more than 20 years, said his brand, Fortune, was now being sold at the neighborhood store for P1.65 per stick or P33 per pack—up P18 from last month’s P15 per pack.

“I still buy. I can’t stand not smoking, especially after eating,” Renier, a government worker, said with a grin.

David Selma, a barber, said he had been trying to shift to cheaper brands since his choice, Philip Morris, became expensive.

From last year’s P40 per pack at a store near his shop, Selma’s Philip Morris now sells at P55 per pack.

Selma has tried a mentholated brand, which costs P30 per pack. “But I still could not adjust,” he said.

Hoarding suspected

Francis Balong, another smoker, said he was surprised to find out on Christmas Day that his brand had disappeared from the shelves of his  favorite grocery store.

“I bought one pack in the morning and returned before sunset to buy another pack, only to find they had no more stock, including other brands,” Balong said. “That was unbelievable because when I bought one in the morning, they still had a lot of cigarettes on display.”

He suspected the store had stopped displaying the cigarettes in anticipation of a price increase.

“Maybe they hid their stocks,” Balong said.

Old stocks not covered

Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares said during a radio interview on Jan. 1 that the disappearance of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks from store shelves could be blamed on hoarding by some retailers.

“Actually, they took advantage. Some people purchased and stockpiled, projecting that there would be an increase in prices on Jan. 1,” she said.

Henares said in another interview that the sin tax law did not cover prior stocks. “Only new stocks delivered by manufacturers,” she said.

But while retailers were trying to make a killing by padding up the prices of stocks which they bought at cheaper prices last month, Henares admitted that the government could not run after them.

“Cigarettes and alcohol are not considered basic commodities so there is no price control for such products. Nobody can be held liable for hoarding as far as these items are concerned,” she said.

Henares said the only thing the government could do would be to tax these based on their declared incomes from selling these items.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: BIR , cigarettes , Government , Sin tax law , Smoking




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • Palace prepared to charge its allies
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • PNP chief on plunder raps: ‘Amateurish’
  • Makati readies 12-month traffic plan for Skyway 3
  • Heard on Radyo Inquirer 990AM
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces, force do-or-die tiff
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Honda upgrades PH plant
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement