Smoke-free Philippines eyed | SunStar

Smoke-free Philippines eyed

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Smoke-free Philippines eyed

Thursday, May 19, 2016

THE Davao City Anti-Smoking Task Force is looking forward to see a smoke-free Philippines now that there are plans to replicate some of the city's ordinances in the entire country.

Anti-Smoking Task Force chairperson Doctor Domielyn Villareiz, during Thursday's I-Speak forum at the City Hall conference room, said they will recommend some points for better implementation if Davao City's Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance will be replicated in the country.

She recommended the amendment of the Republic Act 9211 (Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003), as it is not in compliance with the International Treaty on Tobacco Control. The other option cited by Villareiz is that the cities shall make their own anti-smoking ordinance if the law is not amended.

Villareiz also recommended the removal of the Philippine Tobacco Institute in the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco, saying that one cannot have the tobacco industry to oversee the implementation on tobacco control.

"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 [instead]," Villareiz said.

Smoking rooms will also be removed and smokers must smoke outside the establishments and away from public places. This, according to Villareiz, was one of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncements or plans.

Based on their experience in Davao City, Villareiz said that if the ordinance is to be replicated in the whole nation, its implementation will be fast as long as the law is complied.

"We will not have a difficult time because there are already cities, municipalities, and provinces that are 100% smoke- free," Villareiz said, adding that aside from this there is already a Smoke-Free City Asean Network-Philippine Chapter where Davao City is the founding member.

"Meron ng around 40 [networks in the country]. Hindi pa masyadong malaki but we are looking forward to making the Philippines smoke- free."

Villareiz said that if this plan is to be pursued, within six years the whole country will be covered by the smoke-free campaign because the Department of Health is also doing a project on tobacco control.

The city has been recognized as the first in the country to implement an exhaustive anti-smoking law that paved way to the creation of the Anti-Smoking Task Force which will celebrate its 14th anniversary on May 31.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 20, 2016.

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