Philippines: Baguio’s anti-smoking task force to help BPO workers quit vice

17 July 2018:

BAGUIO CITY — The City of Pines’ anti-smoking task force might come up with a program aimed at helping employees of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies in the city quit smoking.

Anti-smoking task force head Dr. Donnabel Tubera told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday that smoking addiction, which is apparently prevalent among BPO employees, is a lifestyle vice that often causes health problems.

“With the kind of work that they do, they turn to smoking to release their tension, but we have to make them realize that smoking does more harm than good to their health,” Tubera said.

She added that smokers should not be treated like criminals.

“Instead, we should help them quit because they are just victims of the addiction,” she pointed out.

The task force said that according to the company’s human resource officer, approximately 65 percent of the agents are smokers, which could be because of their work schedule and the various challenges they experience, such as the constant pressure of meeting deadlines and certain metrics.

She said that in a recent surprise inspection of a BPO company at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) at Loakan, her group found a high number of smokers among the BPO workforce, particularly the call center agents.

The anti-smoking task force, Tubera added, is set to coordinate with the Human Resources (HR) units of BPO firms to train their personnel to conduct Information Education Communication (IEC) drives and counseling for the employees.

The city government started implementing the Smoke-Free Baguio Ordinance in May 2017, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 26, which provides for smoke-free establishments in public and enclosed places.

Together with the Peace and Order and Safety Division (POSD) of the city government and the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), the task force holds regular spot inspections to compel establishments to comply with the “Smoke-Free Baguio” ordinance.

Recently, the task force has set its sights on BPO firms in the city. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency