DSWD to work with CSC, DOH to harmonize policies on tobacco industry donations

Amid criticism from certain sectors, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday, July 10, vowed to ensure transparency and consistency in its policies regarding donations from the tobacco industry.

DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao made the statement in light of the Department of Justice (DOJ) legal opinion saying that accepting donations from persons or businesses related to the tobacco industry does not violate the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2010-01 of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Health (DOH), which restricts only government officials and employees from accepting such donations, rather than the entire government agency.

Dumlao said the DSWD will collaborate closely with the CSC and DOH to maintain a consistent interpretation of existing policies on contributions from individuals or businesses associated with the tobacco industry.

“The DSWD acknowledges the opinion of the DOJ. Rest assured that we will also work with the CSC and DOH to ensure consistency in interpreting our existing policies and regulations regarding donations from individuals or businesses related to the tobacco industry,” she said.

Dumlao pointed out that the legal opinion from the DOJ should not be misconstrued as advocating for tobacco consumption.

“We are committed to adhere to the provisions of the CSC-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular and in our international commitments to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” she said.

The WHO FCTC, established as the first international treaty under the World Health Organization, aims to curb tobacco consumption globally. 

Adopted on May 21, 2003, and entered into force on Feb. 27, 2005, it sets guidelines for member-countries to regulate tobacco-related activities.

Parents’ group Parents Against Vape on Tuesday, July 9, questioned the DSWD’s acceptance of such donations, raising concerns about potential ethical and health-related implications.

Dumlao reiterated that the DSWD’s actions are guided by legal opinions and adherence to established regulatory frameworks.