• President Benigno Aquino III was thanked by health advocates for anti-smoking laws
  • The health advocates recognize the fact that the outgoing president is a smoker
  • Aquino approved Sin Tax and Graphic Health Warning laws

Health advocates thanked President Benigno Aquino III for approving two “vital” tobacco control laws during his term; despite the fact that he is a smoker.

In an article written by Charina Clarisse Echaluce of Manila Bulletin, it was disclosed that the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), which is an anti-smoking group composed of cancer survivors, thanked Aquino for signing the the Sin Tax and Graphic Health Warning (GHW) bills into laws.

“Among President Aquino’s legacy shall always be the signing of the two measures that have been proven as effective tools in curbing the tobacco menace in the country: The Sin Tax law and the GHW law. These two policies will forever be linked to the Aquino administration,” NVAP president Emer Rojas said.

Rojas said the group “deeply appreciates” Aquino for choosing to support measures benefiting the health of many.

“Being a smoker himself proved to be a non-factor for President Aquino as it did not stop him from considering what would be beneficial for all Filipinos, which is to save them from developing smoking-related illnesses, through these tobacco control policies,” Rojas said.

Meanwhile, the group expressed confidence on the distinct track record of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte in curbing smoking in Davao City during his term as mayor.

“We are confident that incoming President Duterte will carry out his earlier declaration of imposing a nationwide smoking ban. There is no doubt on his political will as he has already shown this in making Davao City smoke-free since 2002,” said Rojas.

To note, Davao City had been hailed by the World Health Organization for its smoke-free policy since 2002, which is the first in the Philippines.