By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio City Smoke-Free Task Force has laid down its strategies aimed at leveling up the city’s smoke-free campaign in the next three years.
These strategies were arrived at after a planning session held on August 13 to 16 in Iloilo City, which had the vision: “Baguio City: Global Model in Smoke-Free and Healthy Environment” as the guidepost of the campaign for 2019-2022.
The participants who came from the various departments and divisions of the city government led by Councilor Joel Alangsab who authored Ordinance No. 34-17 or the Smoke-Free Ordinance of Baguio City, City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo and City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias presented the status of their smoke-free programs through the strength-weakness-opportunities-threat (SWOT) analyses of their offices in relation to their role in the campaign.
They later proposed the activities, plans, and programs to strengthen the implementation of the drive to draw up the strategic plan for the campaign.
The Smoke-Free Project Team of the Health Services Office, led by Project Development Officer Cecille Agpawa, facilitated the sessions said the team identified key action points for smoke-free activities.
These are, Protecting Public Health Policies from Tobacco Industry Interference, Reducing Affordability and Accessibility of Tobacco Products, Implementing Stronger Measures to Protect the Public from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, Strengthening Mass Media Campaign and other Communication Strategies to Sustain Public Awareness and Promote Cessation of Tobacco Use among Youth and Adults.
Specific programs and activities with time tables and funding requirements were then identified and spelled out for each area to make up the three-year strategic plan.
On protecting policies from tobacco industry interference, the team proposed activities towards advocating for the removal of the tobacco industry in the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco (IAC-T) and its restructuring and for the strict implementation of the strengthened Civil Service Commission-Dept. of Health Joint Memorandum Circular 2010-01 and the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3 under General Obligations on National and Local Government.
To reduce the affordability and accessibility of the products, effective taxation and an increase of age limit of purchase to 21 years will be considered. Other proposed action plans were for the adoption and enforcement of the WHO FCTC Article 8, development of information-education-communication materials, implementation of the policy on national clinical practice guidelines on diagnosis and management of tobacco dependence and establishment of quitline support system.
The local task force members had a sharing of experiences and best practices with the Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) led by Director Inigo Garingalao, who facilitated the participants’ visits to the Iloilo City Hall where they paid a call to Mayor Jerry Trenas.
On August 27, the first Smoke-Free Baguio Convention will be mounted on at the Venus Parkview Hotel. Focusing on the theme, “Communities Converge for an Empowered Smoke-Free Baguio, the convention will be participated in by members of the city and community task forces, city council, Alay sa Kalinisan, Baguio Regreening Movement, transport groups, legal partners, Dept. of Health, Civil Service Commission, Philippine Export Zone Authority Baguio, legal partners and the media.