Tobacco control advocates urge the Philippine government to shun big tobacco exposition in Manila
Manila—March 13, 2012: The ProTobEx/Inter-tabac Asia 2012, an international tobacco industry exposition will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Manila, from 15-17 March 2012, and the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) is calling on the Philippine government to NOT participate in the event organized by tobacco producers and marketers from all over the world.
“The Philippines and the Filipino people should be forewarned against welcoming ProTobEx in any way,” SEATCA Senior Policy Advisor Dr. Mary Assunta said.
The regional anti-tobacco network, in a letter to the WHO-Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) last February 10, 2012, wrote that, “we are lending our voice to officially raise our alarm, concern, and protest to the Tobacco-Free Initiative, WHO-WPRO, over the nature and intent of the upcoming show.”
“We support Philippine tobacco control advocates in their call to request the President and other government officials to refrain from attending and supporting the event, and we remind the Filipino people and their leaders that the Philippines is a signatory to the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3 of which takes issue with, and spells out limitations on, Philippine officials advocating for the tobacco industry and its promotional events,” SEATCA adds.
SEATCA also stressed that “there also ought not be exemptions in taxes on the event, nor violations on anti-smoking policies as reflected in Article 8 of the WHO-FCTC, particularly of the regulations under the Pasay City Local Government Unit, where the PICC is located.
“We sincerely hope that the concerns and protests of civil society, and of the larger Philippine public, will be heard and heeded on the matter of ProTobEx being held in Manila. As a signatory to the WHO-FCTC, the Philippines must be guided by all its commitments to discouraging and indeed combating and reversing the expansion of the tobacco industry and tobacco use in the country, and the rest of the world,” SEATCA concluded.
The WHO-FCTC is a global treaty to which the Philippines is a signatory, and which aims to curb tobacco use and its promotion. Article 5.3 of the WHO-FCTC, in particular, says that ‘In setting and implementing public health policies on to tobacco control, parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.’ (ENDS).