20 May Smoke-Free Philippines Sooner Rather Than Later
On Thursday, May 18, Doctor Domielyn Villareiz, Davao City Anti-Smoking Task Force chairperson said that they are poised to replicate Davao city’s Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance to the whole country.
One of President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte’s statements is a smoke-free Philippines and based on Villareiz’s recommendation, an amendment of the Republic Act 9211 must be done for it is not in compliance with the International Treaty on Tobacco Control. If the law is not amended, cities are encouraged to have their own anti-smoking ordinance instead.
The Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco has to be revamped too. Based on Villareiz’s statement, it is not good to have a Tobacco industry included in the committee, pointing to the Philippine Tobacco Institute which is part of the committee.
She said, “If you are talking about tobacco control, the members [of the committee] should be those who will be promoting tobacco control kasi if [tobacco industry is part of the committee], of course they will be promoting their product.”
“We will not have a difficult time because there are already cities, municipalities, and provinces that are 100% smoke- free,” she added.
Removing smoking areas is a must to achieve such changes in the whole country.
Davao City is the founding member of the Smoke-Free City Asean Network-Philippine Chapter. Villareiz said that there are several networks already nationwide that are linked to them, “Meron ng around 40. Hindi pa masyadong malaki but we are looking forward to making the Philippines smoke- free.”
Since the Department of Health is in active pursuance of an anti-tobacco campaign, this implementation of ordinances will be executed sooner rather than later, according to Villareiz.