Health advocates call for stricter enforcement of the law banning the sales of cigarettes near schoolsBe Leilani S. Junio

March 18, 2015 6:03 am 

MANILA, March 17 — Health advocates from the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP) called on Tuesday for stricter enforcement of the law prohibiting the selling of cigarettes near universities and other school campuses to minors.

In a health forum, Dr. Maricar Limpin, FCAP executive director, noted that despite the enactment of legislation banning the sales of tobacco products within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of a school, public playground or other facility frequented by minors, there is still rampant violation of such a law.

As a result of such violations, she said many young people continue to be exposed and enticed to smoking at an early age, making them candidates for fatal illnesses in the future brought about by addiction to smoking.

“The main reason is access and availability of cigarettes to minors,” Dr. Limpin said in the forum organized by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) spearheaded by its president, Dr. Anthony Leachon, at Annabel’s Restaurant in Tomas Morato Ave., Quezon City.

Limpin, a pulmonologist and PCP Board of Regents member, said that based on their monitoring, there are three big establishments which caught their attention for not following Republic Act No. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.

“Under Section 10 of R.A. 9211, selling of tobacco products within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of a school, public playground, or other facility frequented by minors is prohibited,” she stressed.

As proofs that such establishments are really violating the law, she presented photos and even receipts showing that cigarettes can really be bought from the said outlets.

She said that as an initial step, they are sending a letter to the establishments to request them to stop selling cigarettes within the prohibited area as continuing to do so will put more youth to the perils of smoking.

She said that if nothing happens to their call for the establishments to observe the law, they will be forced to go to their next target, which is the filing of complaint with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to do the necessary action.

The DTI is the agency assigned to monitor and enforce Section 10 of R.A. 9211.

Dr. Limpin also said that local government units (LGUs) should also heed the call and strictly enforce the law in support of the anti-smoking campaign.

“And this is what we want to relay to the local chief executive officers of the local government units who should be enforcing the law and implementing effective anti-tobacco measures,” said Limpin.

According to the health advocate, the LGU leaders should promote ordinances that support the law and at the same discourage the selling of cigarettes within the perimeters of schools.

She emphasized that LGUs, like parents and any other health advocates, should support the call for the erring establishments to follow the law and see what is best for the health and future of the young people.

“As leaders, LGUs and concerned parents should put as priority the promotion of the health of our young people… We do not want them (the youth) to die early because of the serious health consequences of smoking,” she stressed.

For the establishments, she said that their owners should follow the law and think that there are other ways to earn profits which do not compromise the health and future of the youth.

Meanwhile, in the same forum, Dr. Luz Tagunicar, Department of Health (DOH) Supervising Program Officer, said that based on the presentation of Dr. Limpin, she saw that there is really a need for some LGUs to really implement the law and replicate what other LGUs are doing in terms of implementing anti-smoking policies.

Dr. Tagunicar also said that the DTI should also do its role.

“We also know that the DTI monitoring is not really that enough,” Tagunicar said.

She added that the DOH, for its part, has been giving Red Orchid Award for the past years to outstanding LGUs that implement anti-smoking programs and projects.

Cash prizes are also given out as an incentive in support of the programs and policies that they are implementing towards achievement of smoke-free LGUs.

She said that at least 88 LGUs have so far had been strictly implementing anti-smoking rules and regulations through ordinances.

Among them are Balanga City in Bataan, Davao City, Marikina City, Roxas City, and Iloilo City, she said. (PNA)



Comments are closed.