Removal of tobacco industry's seat at IAC-T pushed

By Leilani Junio

September 30, 2017, 9:18 pm

MANILA --The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) said that it supports call for the removal of the tobacco industry from the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco (IAC-T).

In a press briefing on Friday, SEATCA - Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Program Director, Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, said they were hopeful that the recent moves in the House of Representatives would not become futile.

"We hope that this will actually end up as an amendment, and remove that low score from the index in the Philippines," Dorotheo said.

He was referring to the low score received by the Philippines in the Tobacco Industry Interference Index Country Report 2017 in terms of the Tobacco Industry Participation in Policy Development aspect.

Based on the report of Health Justice Philippines, it is objectionable that the tobacco industry continues to have a seat in the IAC-T.

In particular, IAC-T has for its members representatives of the Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI).

Health Justice president Mary Ann Fernandez-Mendoza said they are one with the call of SEATCA in removing the IAC-T seat of the tobacco industry.

"We reiterate our call to Congress to amend RA 9211 and remove the representative of the tobacco industry from the IAC-T, the government body tasked to lead the implementation of tobacco control laws," Mendoza said.

She said this is due to conflict of interest.

"There is a conflict of interest in such a situation because of the vested, commercial interests of the tobacco industry and the state’s mandate to protect public health,” Mendoza added.

To note, Republic Act No 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, names the Philippine Tobacco Institute as a member of the IAC-T.

FCTC Article 5.3 providing that the tobacco industry must not be allowed to interfere in public health policy making.(PNA)