^

Headlines

MMDA can implement smoking ban – DOH

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - For the Department of Health (DOH) and health advocacy groups, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has the power to ban smoking in public places as part of its mandate to enforce the law.

DOH Assistant Secretary Paulyn Ubial claimed that the MMDA had been deputized by local government units (LGUs) to implement such a prohibition.

“They are mandated by the local chief executives in Metro Manila. That will (bind) them to implement,” she said.

Maricar Limpin, Framework Convention for Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP) executive director, echoed the stand, saying the MMDA is “part of the enforcers of the law.”

The Court of Appeals earlier ruled that the MMDA could not ban smoking in public places and on streets in the metropolis because it is not a member of the Inter-Agency Committee-Tobacco (IACT), which is given exclusive power and function to administer provisions of the Tobacco Regulations law.

It upheld a Mandaluyong regional trial court decision, which prevented the MMDA from banning smoking in public places, aside from saying that local government anti-smoking ordinances have not necessarily deputized the MMDA to ban smoking.

Limpin said that with this ruling, the appellate court is removing one of the mandates of the MMDA and depriving Filipinos of their basic right to protection of health as enshrined in the Constitution.

She reiterated that the MMDA was merely doing its job as law enforcers and that the IACT is tasked to oversee the implementation of the law “but enforcing the law is left to the enforcers that include the Philippine National Police, MMDA and other enforcers of LGUs.”

New Vois Association of the Philippines president Emer Rojas also maintained that MMDA is mandated to protect public health.

“As a matter of fact, all government agencies must ensure the health and safety of the people. MMDA should keep on warning people on the harm of tobacco to smokers as well as the people around them,” Rojas added.

Eating you alive

The DOH, in partnership with New York-based World Lung Foundation (WLF) and New Vois Association, a group of survivors of laryngeal cancer, launched a new program called “Cigarettes are Eating You Alive” to discourage Filipinos from smoking.

As a national campaign, it will highlight the ill effects of cigarettes to smokers and second-hand smokers.

Health Secretary Janette Garin said that Filipinos would need to be more aware of the harm caused by second-hand smoke, as well as the many respiratory and chronic diseases caused by smoking.

Garin noted that tobacco has been identified as the primary risk factor in the Philippines for a range of non-communicable diseases, which include cancer, cardio vascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes.

Citing a study of the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine in 2012, she claimed that these diseases led to massive health care costs and productivity losses, valued at P188 billion a year.

“To reduce tobacco use, we must implement and support a wide range of tobacco control policies, including graphic warnings on tobacco packs and increased tobacco prices that encourage more Filipinos to cut down and quit,” she added.

ACIRC

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PAULYN UBIAL

COURT OF APPEALS

EATING YOU ALIVE

EMER ROJAS

FRAMEWORK CONVENTION

HEALTH

HEALTH SECRETARY JANETTE GARIN

MMDA

TOBACCO

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with