Remove cigarette makers from tobacco control body, lawmaker urged

A PARTY-list lawmaker on Wednesday sought to amend a law giving cigarette makers a say in implementing tobacco control regulations.

OFW party-list Representative Roy Señeres said that House Bill 5630 seeks to exclude the two tobacco industry representatives from the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco, a panel created under the Tobacco Regulations Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9211).

The proposed measure also bars IAC-Tobacco members from soliciting or accepting gifts, gratuity and other favors from industry members.

IAC-Tobacco is headed by Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Some of the panel members include the secretaries of Departments of Health, Agriculture, Justice, Education, Science and Technology and Environment and Natural Resources.

Señeres called for the swift approval of the measure, saying that its implementation is part of the Philippines’ international obligation to observe and comply with the provisions of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC).

“Protection against tobacco industry interference is an indispensable requirement to the realization of all provisions of the WHO-FCTC. This is premised on the principle that there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interest,” he said.

He said that Article 5.3 of the FCTC asks its signatories to act in protecting anti-tobacco policies from “commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.”

“As a State Party to the FCTC, the Philippines is internationally bound to comply with its treaty obligations in good faith and to sow political commitment not to undermine the objectives set out in the FCTC,” Señeres said. (Sunnex)

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