Jakarta, (11 November 2011) – As the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games kicks off today, all is set for a 100-percent smoke-free celebration of regional unity, strength, and well-being.
No less than 80 volunteers have undergone training to monitor and enforce the Indonesian government’s own pledge to banish tobacco products – its use, sale, and promotion – from the SEA Games. Volunteers from the National Commission on Child Protection (NCCP), FAKTA, the Indonesia Steering Committee for the SEA Games (INASOC DKI), and the Jakarta Environment Body (BPHLD) held a half-day briefing on the eve of the start of the Games.
A symbolic graduation equipped each Smoke-free SEA Games monitoring volunteer with an ID and vest that says “Support SEA Games in Smoke-free Jakarta”. The volunteers have been deputized to remind the public, athletes and all participants to the SEA Games that the sale and use of tobacco products is prohibited in all of the Games’ venues and facilities.
As Indonesia was also celebrating National Heroes’ Day on the same day, tobacco control advocates called the volunteers the “heroes of the moment” for their willingness and commitment to ensure everyone will be free from exposure to tobacco smoke.
BPHLD Officer-in-charge Dr. Ridwan Panjaitan said “the Indonesian people are serious in ensuring that the SEA Games are smoke-free. We care about the athletes, and want all of them to take care of their bodies and health, and so we want to send that clear message, not only to the Indonesian participants, but to all South East Asian participants.” INASOC DKI’s Mr. Misrori, MM, in-charge of the 24 SEA Games venues in Jakarta, reported that the organizing committee are very much aware of the smoke-free policy, and are all set to support the volunteer monitoring teams.
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) Director Bungon Ritthiphakdee added: “We are very positive of these developments made by the Indonesian government and all the organizers of the SEA Games. They took the initiative to make the games not only free of tobacco smoke, but free of tobacco advertisements and sponsorships as well.”
SEATCA, a regional tobacco control network, also reminded the Indonesian public that they are partners in this movement for a healthy and smoke-free SEA Games.
To this end, Ritthiphakdee adds, they have a right to hold organizers accountable in their pledge for a Smoke-free Games. “This is a promise of your Government,” she said. “Support them. Help them to monitor the Games, for you, and your children’s own sake.”
Dr. Domilyn Villarreiz, SEATCA’s FCTC Programme Manager said “there is no middle ground here. In any sports activity, it is only right to protect the health of not only the athletes, as they are symbols of health, overall all health: mentally, spiritually, physically – but also of the public and youth that look up to them.”
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, after meeting with tobacco control advocates last month, stated during a cabinet meeting that there will be no tobacco sponsorship throughout the Games, slated from 11 November, until 22 November. The Games will be held in two cities: the capital Jakarta, and in Palembang, South Sumatra.
The ‘Smoke-free Jakarta’- DKI Jakarta Governor Regulations no 75/2005 and 88/2010 has been in effect for a few months now. (ENDS)