By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Starting this coming school year (SY) 2018-2019, public and private schools nationwide are expected to take part in the tobacco control policy initiative of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Through the “EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo” initiative, DepEd is aiming to strengthen the implementation of its tobacco control policy. As the current school year ended, DepEd is also culminating its “EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo Project” which is a three-year project in partnership with the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund.
Implemented in select schools in the cities of Pasig and Makati, and the provinces of Batangas, Bulacan, Bataan, and Pampanga, DepEd said that the project developed and pilot-tested the “implementation mechanisms aimed to build the capacity of DepEd personnel in effectively carrying out the Department’s tobacco control policy.”
Former Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Alberto Muyot, who also served as the director of the project, said that the EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo Project ended in its pilot-testing phase and “its components will be adapted by DepEd for roll-out nationwide.”
Meanwhile, a ceremonial turnover of these materials was held recently at DepEd Central Office, Pasig City. Muyot, who resigned recently, said that all schools will be adapting the monitoring and reporting tools, training manuals, and school-based campaign materials which were developed by the project to support schools in their implementation of the comprehensive tobacco control policy.
No to tobacco
The project brand “EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo” is a play on the Filipino words eskwela, laban, and eskwela ban to communicate that schools (eskwela), through the school’s bans (eskwela ban), are on a collective fight (laban) against tobacco (sigarilyo).
Intended to carry two meanings – the school’s bans on cigarettes or the school’s fight against tobacco – EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo aims to increase public awareness of the bans stipulated in DepEd Order No. 48, s. 2016 (DO 48, s. 2016) or the Policy and Guidelines on Comprehensive Tobacco Control, and to build the capacity of schools, through their respective Child Protection Committees, to effectively take a stand against tobacco by implementing the strategies enumerated in the Order.
The DO 48, s. 2016 mandates the Child Protection Committee – which has already been set up in all schools since 2012 and chaired by the Principal – to monitor compliance with and report violations of various tobacco control policies such as bans on smoking in schools; bans on the sale and advertisement of tobacco products within the 100-meter perimeter of schools, and bans on receiving sponsorships from the tobacco industry and other unnecessary interactions with the tobacco industry.
Likewise, the DO identified strategies for the effective implementation of the policy such as information, education, and communication, cessation interventions, collaborations, partnerships and linkages, capacity building, and reporting and monitoring.