Monday, March 19, 2012

NYC to Philip Morris: Education Alone Will Not Curb Youth Smoking

Higher cost of cigarettes is the immediate deterrent. “Kapag mahal, ang sigarilyo, mas mapipigilan sa pagyoyosi ang kabataang Pilipino.”

This was stressed by the National Youth Commission (NYC) today in reaction to the claims of Chita Herce, spokesperson of Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation Inc. (PMFTC), the top tobacco manufacturer in the country, that education and not additional taxes will prevent young people from smoking.

Education is vital in curbing youth smoking but it must be reinforced by  mechanisms that will make tobacco inaccessible, NYC Chairperson Leon Flores said. For the past years, the dangers of tobacco smoking have been taught in schools and have been part of wellness campaigns. However, the percentage of youth smokers continues to increase despite the education drive as well as the advertisement ban on tobacco products.

According to the 2007 Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), 69.6% young people had been taught in class during the past year about the dangers of smoking.  Moreover, 69.3% had been taught in class the effects of tobacco use. These numbers did not have any effect in decreasing smoking prevalence among the youth. In 2011, already 2 out of 5 teens aged 13-15 smoked.

The Philippines has some of the cheapest cigarettes in Asia and one of the cheapest cigarettes in the world. Parallel to these data are the alarming smoking rates in the country: The Philippines ranks 9th in the adult male population and 16th in the adult female smoking population in the world.

NYC Commissioner Perci CendaƱa said that raising taxes right now is the most viable option to decrease the number of young smokers. “Kapag nagtaas ng presyo ang sigarilyo, maraming kabataan ang hindi na maninigarilyo.” The recent study by the University of the Philippines Communication Research Society with the support of Health Justice supports this claim. According to it, that 60% of the sample population will quit smoking if cigarettes will be priced at 5 pesos per stick.

NYC as the voice and advocate of the youth calls on the immediate passage of House Bill 5727 that will restructure the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol. The Commission firmly stands that we must maximize all means to protect the health and wellness of our nation’s youth.(NYC Press release)

Taiwan needs more OFWs

Raymond Wang, TECO Representative to PHL

MALOLOS CITY—Good news for over seas Filipino workers (OFW)!

The Taiwanese government announced on Thursday that they are hoping that more Filipinos will work in Taiwan.

This came as Raymond Wang, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO Representative to the Philippines said they are eyeing for closer bilateral relations with the country.

“We are hoping to import more workers and hire OFWs to Taiwan,” said Wang in an interview with the STAR on Thursday night after the ceremonial turn over of 800 tons of rice donated to flood victims in Bulacan.

Wang said that there are at least 90,000 OFWs working with Taiwan, and they have greatly helped their economic.

He also said that Taiwan-based OFWs has contributed a total of $650-Million for the Philippine foreign reserves last year.

“They helped our economy moving, they are also helping yours through their remittances which sent children to schools,” Wang said.

Aside from inviting more OFWs to Taiwan, Wand stressed that they are also working to bring more investment to the country especially in Bulacan.