-HealthJustice President Mary Ann Fernandez-Mendoza
The National Youth Commission (NYC), the “policy-making coordinating body of all youth-related institutions, programs, projects and activities of the government”, and HealthJustice Philippines, a think tank and advocacy group with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, signed a Memorandum of Agreement sealing their commitment to conduct a national survey on the Filipino youth’s opinion on the increasing prices of tobacco products. Chairperson Cariza Seguerra and HealthJustice President Mary Ann Fernandez-Mendoza signed the agreement last May 23 at the Central Office of the NYC.
“This partnership between HealthJustice and the National Youth Commission was entered into for the purpose of protecting the health of our youth. The survey that we will jointly conduct aims to obtain information on the extent of youth support towards increased prices of tobacco products, the profiles of current youth smokers, and the levels of prices that will make them consider giving up smoking altogether. The results of the survey will aid us in formulating policies that will effectively discourage the youth from smoking,” Mendoza stated.
“I’ve abhorred smoking since I was a child. We thank HealthJustice for partnering with us in this project. We are also here to help you as we reaffirm our stance against the harms of tobacco. Aside from increasing [cigarette] prices, we hope to collaborate on more tobacco control activities with HealthJustice,” said Chairperson Seguerra.
Article 16 of the World Health Organization Framework on Tobacco Control, to which the Philippines is a Party, mandates states to implement measures that will deter the youth from smoking. The Tobacco Control Act of 2003 likewise contains provisions prohibiting establishments in and near schools and centers of youth activity from carrying tobacco products.
“There is a global tobacco epidemic in large part due to the systematic efforts of the tobacco industry to target the youth and keep them in the habit of smoking. We must be armed with the right information in order to come up with measures that can adequately counter the said industry’s deceptive schemes to lure the youth into a deadly addiction,” Mendoza added.