World’s leading anti-smoking org to visit Iloilo City

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

REPRESENTATIVES of Bloomberg Philanthropies, one of the biggest organizations in the world that funds and supports tobacco control programs, will be visiting Iloilo City on February 15-16, 2019.

Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Taskforce (ICAST) director Iñigo Garingalao said that the visit is a pleasant surprise especially for Iloilo City to be chosen by the U.S. based organization.

“Natingala kita nga of all the cities in the Philippines and they don’t usually go down nga daw wala sila tinutuyo,” he said.

According to Garingalao, the visit is a huge opportunity for the city to showcase its different anti-smoking campaigns and programs.

“Aside sa grabe nga recognition makapresent ta sang aton mga efforts and campaigns against anti-smoking and ma-critique ta nila technically kon ano pa ang mga kulang,” he added.

The visit, which was brokered by another non-government organization (NGO), the Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, will feature a forum together with the City Health Office, Department of Health (DOH)-6 and Philippine National Police (PNP) and a presentation by ICAST.

This will be followed by actual field visits on Kids Smoke-free Storytelling Program (KiSS) of the ICAST advocacy group and observation during the enforcement of ICAST in the field.

During the visit, Garingalao hopes to highlight the efforts of Iloilo City especially on its battle against promotions and advertisements of tobacco groups.

“Maglibot sila yawan sila ka kita sang posters and billbords sang cigarette companies which means continuous ang battle naton against giant nga cigarette companies. It will show how Iloilo has been standing hard against cigarette ads and sponsorships nga usually naga-ganyat sa mga kabataan na magengage sa smoking,” he stressed.

Created by billionaire former Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg , Bloomberg Philanthropies is the businessman-turned-politician’s giving enterprises.

Through the years, the foundation has been funding various projects aimed at government innovation, public health, education, arts, founder’s projects, and environmentalism.

One of which is the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use which supports and funds activities to combat tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries with high number of smokers, particularly in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and Philippines.

Since 2007, Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed nearly $1 billion to combat tobacco use worldwide, according to World Health Organization.

Based on their official website, the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use has changed the landscape of global tobacco control by supporting the implementation of proven, evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use and scaling the work of leading non-governmental and governmental organizations and attracting major new philanthropic investments and generating broad awareness and media attention to the cause.

The program aims to reduce the global demand for tobacco through a comprehensive, proven approach that combines policy change with increased public awareness, WHO added.

Meanwhile, Garingalao is hoping that the visit of Bloomberg Philanthropies will translate into the possible funding of his pet project, which is a mobile cessation clinic.

“With the mobile cessation clinic, may sarakyan gid nga makadto sa barangay with posters and lectures that is willing to cater sa mga gusto magquit and basi dira pa lang ma-lower pa gid naton ang incidence sang nagakalamatay because of smoking,” he noted.