Cayetano hopes Senate will pass graphic health warning bill
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - June 3, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Pia Cayetano expressed confidence yesterday that the proposed graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging bill would finally be approved in the Senate after failing to gain ground in the past.

Senate Bill No. 27 or the Picture-Based Health Warning Act of 2014 is on its way to approval on second reading at the Senate, now that almost all of the amendments have been introduced and accepted by Cayetano, the measure’s sponsor.

“After accommodating several amendments last week, we are looking forward to the bill’s passage on second reading in the first week of June, and possibly, on third and final reading before session adjourns on June 11,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano, principal author of the measure, recalled that similar bills filed in the past never got past second reading.

This time around, the bill appears to have a better chance of being approved because of the support of several senators, including Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Last week, Cayetano agreed to accept several amendments introduced by Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, who earlier raised concerns on the negative consequences of the bill on the tobacco industry during the period of interpellation.

Among the major amendments Cayetano upheld is the reduction in the size requirement for the picture-based health warning from 60 percent to 50 percent of the principal display areas in both front and back panels of the tobacco package.

Enrile initially wanted to bring the size down to as low as 30 percent of the display area.

Cayetano also agreed with Enrile to set a maximum of 16 variations of picture-based health warnings, which will be printed on cigarette packs and rotated for a two-year period, from the bill’s original proposal to set a minimum of eight variations that will be required by the Department of Health (DOH).

What Cayetano rejected was Enrile’s proposal to appoint the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco (IAC-T) instead of the DOH as the body mandated to draw up the guidelines for the measure, including the templates for the picture-based health warnings that must be followed by tobacco manufacturers.

Previously, in her own committee amendments, Cayetano agreed to lengthen the compliance period to one year from 90 days as previously proposed under the bill for cigarette companies to print the picture-based health warnings upon the issuance of templates by the DOH.

 

BILL CAYETANO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ENRILE HEALTH INTER-AGENCY COMMITTEE PIA CAYETANO PICTURE-BASED HEALTH WARNING ACT SENATE BILL NO SENATE MINORITY LEADER JUAN PONCE ENRILE WHAT CAYETANO
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