In the Philippines, where tobacco use kills 10 people every hour, Big Tobacco sits on the committee that implements tobacco control policies. This is an atrocious conflict of interest and the biggest impediment to realizing the lifesaving potential of the global tobacco treaty in the country.
Sign the petition below to encourage Members of the Philippine Congress to support a bill that removes this tobacco industry representative from the national tobacco control committee.
To the Esteemed Members of the Philippine Congress,
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified the tobacco industry as the vector of the tobacco epidemic, which kills more than 6 million people every year. In the Philippines, tobacco-related diseases kill 240 people every single day. Global South countries, the Philippines included, are particularly vulnerable when the tobacco industry uses its vast economic power, political mileage, and marketing machinery to continue selling its deadly product.
Ten years ago, the Philippines ratified and concurred in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which made it part of the country’s national laws. But the presence of the tobacco industry in the Interagency Committee -- Tobacco (IACT), a committee that is tasked to implement tobacco control measures in the Philippines, undermines the obligation to implement the treaty in good faith. The Philippines is put in a horrible situation when a tobacco control committee, which should be protecting the health of Filipinos, includes a representative of the tobacco industry. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO, accurately pointed out that: “Giving any tobacco company a place at the negotiating table is akin to appointing a committee of foxes to take care of your chickens.” The tobacco industry doesn’t care about our health, only about profit.
Simply put, there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy. The tobacco industry can never be part of anything that promotes public health because its products kill. To address this conflict and prevent more suffering and deaths due to tobacco-related diseases, we need to stop the industry from meddling in public health policies and their implementation.
There is a pending bill that seeks to address the issue. We urge you to support this bill that removes the Philippine Tobacco Institute from the tobacco control committee. We have to act now, and stop putting the commercial interests of the tobacco industry over the health of Filipinos.
We owe it to the Philippines to stand up for public health. We owe it to Filipinos to give them a healthy future.