Health group: Tobacco industry ‘CSR’ poses new challenge to implementation of tobacco control laws

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HealthJustice Philippines, a public health policy think tank and advocacy group with expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, warned that the tobacco industry’s CSR activities are the new means by which it circumvents tobacco control laws.

“Now that laws prohibit unnecessary interaction between government and the tobacco industry, the latter has become more innovative. Tobacco manufacturers are using or hiding behind their front groups or CSR arms in their attempts to enter into transactions with the government,” said Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice.

Under the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and the Civil Service Commission – Department of Health Joint Memorandum Circular 2010-01 (CSC-DOH JMC 2010-01), interactions between the government and the tobacco industry are prohibited, save for those occasions in which it is absolutely necessary for the purpose solely of monitoring compliance with tobacco control measures.

The goal of the JMC is to preserve the integrity of the bureaucracy and protect it from undue influence from the tobacco industry, known for deploying huge economic and political resources to defeat tobacco control regulations.

Last August 25, the Wong Chu King Foundation of the Mighty Corporation led a “Unity Walk” attended by members and personnel of the Police Regional Office in Davao Region.

Last August 23, the Climate Change and Agricultural Summit, sponsored and led by Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing, Inc. and the American Chamber of Commerce took place in Palo, Leyte, and was attended by over 200 government officials.

In early August, the Wong Chu King gave away school supplies to pupils of Jose Magsaysay Elementary School, a public school.

“The tobacco industry has no business meddling with the government, which exists to protect what they blatantly disrespect— the Filipino’s right to health and a smoke-free environment. We call on government agencies to first do a background check on the entities approaching them before entering into transactions with them,” Reyes added.

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