DAVAO CITY—Ten years after its successful smoking ban, the city has been followed not only by 40 cities and towns in the Philippines but also by other cities in Southeast Asia, a leading antismoking advocate group in Southeast Asia said.
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca), a Bangkok-based group initiating antitobacco campaigns, lauded Davao City for its smoking ban which marks its 10th year this year.
“Davao City is consistent with the implementation and enforcement of its smoke-free policies, and deserves all the accolades and recognition,” Seatca director Bungon Ritthiphakdee said.
He said other cities in Southeast Asia have learned much from Davao City’s experience.
“In the Asean, many governments are trying to follow their example and hope to become a model smoke-free place,” he said, adding that smoke-free world heritage sites and cities are now established in Malacca, Malaysia; Luang Prabang, Laos; Sukhothai, Thailand; Angkor Wat in Cambodia; and Halong, Vietnam.
Seatca also made available through its website soft copies of the booklet “Your Guide to a Smoke-free City: Lessons learned from Davao City, Philippines,” which documented the 10-year story, lessons and formula for Davao’s successful antismoking campaign.
“Davao City has been recognized as one of the most successful and pioneering smoke-free initiatives in the Asean,” Seatca said in a statement. “It provides a leading example of a city that has effectively implemented a smoke-free legislation and has significantly reduced the extent that its residents and those visiting the city are exposed to secondhand smoke.”
More than 40 cities, towns, provinces in the country are well on their way to becoming the next smoke-free city, coming up with their own antismoking ordinances, emulating Davao City, Seatca noted.
Dr. Domilyn Villarreiz, Seatca Framework Convention on Tobacco Control program manager based in Davao, attributed the success of the city’s antismoking campaign to the political will of city officials.
“Davao is fortunate to have government leaders who prioritize the health of the people and have the political will to support and enforce a comprehensive and stringent antismoking ordinance,” Villareiz said, referring among others to former Mayor, now Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who started the campaign.
“Davao’s campaign has demonstrated that strong political leadership, proper coordination, multisectoral effort, large-scale information dissemination and topped by a committed task force will make for a successful smoke-free city campaign,” Villareiz said.
The city has reaped numerous awards, including the Global Smoke-Free Partnership Award given to a government body for exceptional leadership and commitment to further smoke-free policies; and three-time Red Orchid Awardee of the Department of Health. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao