Philippines signs laws on graphic health warning, entry of foreign banks

President Benigno Aquino III has signed five new laws, including one on graphic health warnings on tobacco products and another on the full entry of foreign banks in the Philippines, Malacanang said Sunday.

At a press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Presidential Legislative Liaison Office secretary Manuel Mamba announced that Aquino signed the new laws last Friday.

R.A. 10643 or An Act to Effectively Instill Health Consciousness through Graphic health Warnings on Tobacco Products, requires cigarette manufacturers to use half of a cigarette pack’s display area for pictures showing the ill effects of smoking.

The graphic health warnings should appear on the lower portion of the front and back panels of the cigarette packs.  The law also provides twelve different versions of the graphic health warnings, to be changes every two years.

Meanwhile, R.A. 1064 or An Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks in the Philippines, states that foreign lenders seeking full entry into the Philippines banking system must be widely-owned and publicly-listed in their respective countries of origin.

It also directs the Monetary Board to ensure that domestic banks hold at least 60 percent of the total resources or assets of the entire banking system.  The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier pushed for the passage of this piece of the legislation.

The other three laws are:

1. Republic Act 10640: An Act to Further Strengthen the Anti-Drug Campaign of the Government, Amending Section 21 of R.A. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

2. R.A. 10642: An Act Strengthening Consumer Protection in the Purchase of Brand New Motor Vehicles

3. R.A. 10644: An Act Promoting Job Generation and Inclusive Growth Through the Development of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises

Coloma expressed hopes the new laws would help push reforms in the economy as well as healthcare.

Patricia Denise Chiu/LBG/BM, GMA News.

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