‘Smoke-free champions’ vow to continue their advocacy

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  • Perla E.
  • 8 years ago

BALANGA City, Bataan – Three city mayors in the country considered as “smoke-free champions” on Thursday expressed elation over their achievement, saying a big majority of their constituents support their program of attaining a 100 percent smoke-free environment.

Mayors Maloney Samaco of Maasin City, Leyte; Jose Enrique Garcia III of Balanga City, Bataan and Benthan dela Cruz of Amlan City, Negros Occidental are last termers but vow to continue

with their advocacy. All three city chief executives consider educating the people and good information as major keys in the success of their campaign. “People have to support the program to succeed,” they said. The three cities are among the few cities who belong to the Hall of Fame of the Department of Health’s Red Orchid Awards.

Samaco said selling of cigarettes in the 70 barangays of Maasin is banned. He said that he no longer issues Mayor’s Permits to stores and wholesalers selling cigarettes after they got the Red Orchid Award. “Why issue a permit for selling a product that kills, causes sickness? I want my people to stay healthy,” Samaco said. Maasin has a population of 88,000. 

Dela Cruz said Amlan City and Negros Occidental are already smoke-free but not tobacco-free. “We use tobacco as pesticides for our organic farming,” the mayor said. He said that public places in their area are smoke-free and extending even in private residences.

Garcia foresees not only Bataan but the entire Philippines to be smoke-free by 2025 beginning with the cities. He announced that in last Tuesday’s executive meeting of the League of Cities of the Philippines, Red Orchid Award Hall of Famers urged members to pass smoke-free ordinance to be presented to the General Assembly in October this year.

“We are happy to host a workshop for smoke-free champions in Southeast Asia and partners,” Garcia told delegates and participants in the 2nd Regional Workshop of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance.

Rommel Ariola of the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines, said many cities and municipalities in the Philippines are already Red Orchid awardees. He said that Davao City and Maasin City were among the first batch of Hall of Famers, followed by Balanga and Amlan among others.

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