Philippines: Smoke-free Heritage Town launched in Jimenez

Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, 8 March 2019: In partnership with SEATCA and the Smoke-free Cities Asia Pacific Network (SCAN), the Municipality of Jimenez in Misamis Occidental, Philippines launched the “Smoke-free Heritage Town of Jimenez” to promote tourism through a smoke-free environment. 

The Municipality of Jimenez is the oldest town of Misamis Occidental and is geographically located at the center of the province. The town offers a mixture of well-preserved old structures under a provincial and conservative atmosphere. Rich in cultural heritage particularly its famous landmark, the old edifice of the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist was declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Heritage of the Philippines. The town is also home to various ancestral houses and cultural icons. 

37,077 tourists visited the province in 2017 and this increased by 20 percent in 2018 making the total number of tourists 46,413 in 2018 according to the data from the Local Tourism Office of Jimenez. 

With support from SEATCA, SCAN and the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific Region (WHO WPRO), the Municipality of Jimenez initiated the project to make the Heritage Town of Jimenez smoke-free. This project was an outcome of the 6th Regional Meeting of Smoke-free Cities in the Asia Pacific Region held in Hoi An, Viet Nam in November 2018. 

The project which also aims to protect the different  heritage sites from fire due to tobacco smoking is in partnership with the Office of the City Mayor headed by the Hon. Rosario Balais.