By Analou De Vera
A Department of Health (DOH) official reiterated that tobacco companies should comply with the new graphic health warnings.
“Kami ang reckoning ng DOH is that dapat by March mag start na silang magpalit. And after two years, magpapalit nanaman tayo ng template,” said Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo.
Domingo said that the “deadliest deadline” should be by March 3 and that the factories should start printing the new set of graphic health warnings.
“BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) has the mandate to police the packaging, to make sure na sumusunod sila sa bagong pictures natin. Kami (DOH) lang ang nagse-set at pumipili ng pictures,” Domingo said.
Recently, health advocates; the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca) and HealthJustice, urged the DOH to ensure that the tobacco packagings should bear the new graphic health warnings by March 3.
However, the Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI) released a statement saying that the claims of the two groups are “completely inaccurate and will only create confusion.”
“The new set of GHW templates to replace the first batch were published by the DOH last September. 9, 2017. The law clearly states that the graphic health warnings should be on cigarrete packs manufactured one year following the issuance of the templates by the DOH. Hence, based on the issuance date of the DOH, the effectivity should be on September 10, 2018 for manufacturers and importers to comply with,” The PTI statement read.
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