Philippine City cited for outstanding tobacco control policies

Singapore—23 February 2010—The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) today applauded the Davao Anti Smoking Task Force for the much- deserved 2009 Global Smoke-free Partnership (GSP) Award to a Governmental Body for exceptional leadership and commitment to further smoke-free policies.

Davao City, the Philippines, has been cited for its excellence in implementing bans on smoking in public places. Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, co-chair of the GSP said, ‘For the past seven years, Davao City, under the strong leadership of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, has served as a consistent model smoke-free city, inspiring other local governments in the country in advancing tobacco control efforts, particularly in promoting smoke-free environments.’ 

 

‘Declining figures of arrests suggests that the public have become increasingly aware and supportive of the smoking bans. Davao had recorded a total of 9,244 apprehensions since the ordinance came into effect.  In 2009, apprehensions reached 1,193, which is lower than the 1,500 in 2008’, Dr. Domilyn Villarreiz, Co-chair of the task force said.

‘Lung cancer cases have dropped from 153 in 2008 to 104 in 2009, and again, the anti-smoking ordinance appeared to have contributed to this decline’, she adds.

 

The GSP award is the second international award for the Davao Anti Smoking Task Force, for its strong and comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance, which has been in force since November 2002.

In 2008, the South East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also cited Davao City for the enforcement of the Anti-Smoking Ordinance.

 

Ms. Bungon Ritthiphakdee, SEATCA Director said, “Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air, but unless governments, such as Davao City, have the political will to implement100 percent smoke-free workplaces and public places, there is no way we can protect the future generations.”

In the ASEAN region, some governments are trying to work just as hard for smoke-free public places, and a number have been successful.  Pioneering smoke-free world heritage sites are found in Luang Prabang, Laos, Sukhothai Province in Thailand,  Siem Reap, Angkor in Cambodia and soon, in Halong Bay, Vietnam.  In Cambodia, monks, pagodas and temples are part of the smoke-free programs. And in Singapore, smoking bans now include pubs and bars, a first in ASEAN countries.

Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first global public health treaty, calls for the adoption and implementation of effective legislative, executive, administrative and/or other measures, providing for the protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places and other public places.

 

The GSP Awards, hosted by the American Cancer Society and the Framework Convention Alliance, along with numerous international and regional tobacco control organizations, was held yesterday in Orchard Hotel, Singapore coinciding with the WHO-FCTC Implementation Workshop for the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions. ENDS.