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Philippines: Baguio’s anti-smoking drive lauded

1 November 2022

By Gaby B. Keith, The Manila Times

BAGUIO CITY: Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. praised the Summer Capital’s comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance and urged other local government units to adopt the same effective measure during the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca) 8th Asia Pacific Smoke-Free Meeting on Oct. 27-28, 2022 at Baguio Country Club with the theme “Rising amidst the challenges: Strengthening and sustaining smoke-free implementation and enforcement.”

Mayor Benjamin Magalong, anti-smoking task force chairman, said his administration will continue to strictly enforce the city’s anti-smoking ordinance “without fear or favor” as it continues to prioritize the health and safety of residents.

Adopted in 2017 and principally authored by former councilor Joel Alangsab, the Baguio Smoke-Free Ordinance prohibits the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain places and imposes penalties for violations.

Also present during the meeting was Department of Health (DoH) Undersecretary Beverly Ho who spoke on promoting smoke-free as a way of life.

Around 150 participants joined the two-day activity with delegates coming from Cambodia, Lao, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines. The next meeting is slated for 2024 in Lao.

City health services office assistant head Dr. Celia Brillantes said the meeting aimed to share best practices on smoke-free implementation and enforcement as part of comprehensive tobacco control and health promotion, among others.

The event was organized by the city government of Baguio, the DoH, the World Health Organization-Western Pacific Region, Smoke-Free Cities Asia Pacific Network, and the Seatca.