26 March 2015 – The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi proudly announces that the Philippines’ Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Health (DOH) were jointly awarded the Bloomberg Philanthropies Award for Global Tobacco Control on March 18 at the Al Maa’red Hall, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
DOF Undersecretary Jeremias N. Paul, Jr. and DOH Assistant Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial received the award from Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies and former Mayor of New York City.
Winning under the “R” category (“Raising taxes on tobacco”) of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ MPOWER Awards, the Philippines was recognized for passing the Sin Tax Law of 2012 (or RA 10351) and implementing tax collection that will expand healthcare coverage.
At the awards ceremony, Mr. Bloomberg remarked that raising taxes on tobacco may be the single most effective measure to reduce the use of tobacco. “The Philippines’ Department of Finance and Department of Health have been strong voices for higher tobacco taxes in that country, and are an example to countries around the world,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
Undersecretary Paul delivered the acceptance speech on behalf of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima. He said the sin tax reform would not have been possible without the full support of President Benigno S. Aquino III. He cited that, in the first two years of implementation, Sin Tax Reform has generated an additional US$2.3 billion to finance the Philippines’ universal health care and health infrastructure programs. “Thanks to Sin Tax Reform, there are 3.2 million less smokers today,” Undersecretary Paul said. Lastly, he called for the continued support of the international community to protect the future of the youth.
The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, led by Charge d’ Affaires a.i. Maria Roseny B. Fangco, extended support to the Philippine delegation, who also attended the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) on March 17 to 21 in Abu Dhabi.
The other winners of the 3rd Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control are: Brazilian Ministry of Health and IBGE (Monitoring tobacco use); LIFE, Ukraine (Protecting through smoke-free laws); Uruguayan Ministry of Health (Offering help to those who want to quit); Nepalese Ministry of Health and Population (Warning people about the dangers of tobacco); and KONFOP, Russia (Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and sponsorship).
This is the second time the Philippines was recognized by Bloomberg Philanthropies. In 2012, HealthJustice Philippines (NGO) received the award under the “M” category at the 2nd Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control in Singapore. END