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Tobacco products to carry graphic health warnings starting Nov. 4
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Cigarette packs with graphic health warnings: Anna Kapunan (center), spokesperson of Katipunars PSLINK, an association of nurses, shows samples of cigarette packs with graphic health warnings during a press briefing on Saving Lives Through the Full Implementation of the Graphic Health Warnings Law held at Max’s Restaurant, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City on Wednesday (Oct. 19, 2016). With her in photo are (from right): Jorge Banal, president, Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of the Philippines; and Engr. Emer Rojas, president, New Vois Association of the Philippines. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends graphic health warnings and higher taxes on tobacco products as two of the most effective ways to stop people from smoking. (PNA photo by Johnny D. Guevarra)

MANILA, Oct. 19 (PNA) – Beginning Nov. 4, all tobacco products being manufactured and imported for sale in the Philippines must contain graphic health warnings in compliance with Republic Act No. 10643.

“This means that cigarette packs must carry graphic health warnings and products with text only warnings are no longer allowed to be sold anywhere in the country,” Emer Rojas, president of the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) and a throat cancer survivor, said during a press briefing held in Quezon City Wednesday.

Ratified in July 2014, RA 10643 mandates that all tobacco products being sold in the country carry graphic health warnings in the lower portion of the cigarette packs, covering at least 50 percent of both sides of the packages.

A total of 12 templates or images of the actual health effects of smoking, including a photo of Rojas who had stage 4 laryngeal cancer from smoking, have been approved by the Department of Health (DOH) to be used in the packages.

The Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) Law imposes a maximum penalty of PHP2 million or a five-year imprisonment and revocation of business permit against erring manufacturers, exporters and distributors.

“We are hoping that all manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are aware of the deadline for compliance to the law and that none of them will be sending out packs without picture warnings,” Rojas said.

Likewise, Rojas warned ‘sari-sari’ or convenience stores that they too must comply with the GHW law.

He said such stores should stop accepting cigarette packs with no graphic warnings from their suppliers.

Proceeds from fines collected from violators may be used to partially fund health promotion campaigns of the departments of health and education. The law requires the education department to use the graphic health warning templates to teach students about the harmful effects of smoking by incorporating them in relevant subjects under the K-12 curriculum.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco (IAC-T) are mandated to monitor the compliance of the tobacco industry.

Data from the Bureau of Internal Revenue showed that as of May 25 this year, all six local manufacturers have already complied with the DOH-prescribed templates.

The World Health Organization recommends graphic health warnings on tobacco products as one of the most effective ways to stop people from smoking.

Ellirie Aviles, president of the youth group Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition, warned tobacco companies not to target them as replacement customers and vowed to support the law through monitoring on the ground.

“The youth should not be the replacement smokers for the sick and dying customers of the cigarette companies. All government agencies must protect us from tobacco addiction, too. Let us support the implementation of the GHW law. We, the youth, shall monitor its full implementation,” said Aviles.

Anna Marie Kapunan, spokesperson of an association of nurses, likewise aired her concern over the lives lost in exchange for tobacco profits.

“We should prioritize human health over profits and we should not sacrifice human lives over capital and income. It is our fervent hope that all stakeholders respect and obey the provisions of RA 10643,” said Kapunan.

The country reportedly has 17.3 million adult smokers puffing an average of 11 sticks a day.

The GHW law complements the smoke-free Philippines initiatives of President Rodrigo Duterte and of the DOH.

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Gov’t urged to fix flaws in anti-illegal drugs campaign
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Senator Leila de Lima, chair of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, leads the inquiry on the extrajudicial killings, Monday morning.(MNS photo)

Senator Leila de Lima, chair of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, leads the inquiry on the extrajudicial killings, Monday morning.(MNS photo)

MANILA, Oct. 18 (PNA) – Amid unresolved killings linked to the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the current administration, a senator on Tuesday urged the government to fix the campaign’s defects to prevent the number of killings from increasing.

Senator Leila de Lima made this call citing an alternate report submitted by the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) last week noting that the administration has failed in addressing extrajudicial and summary killings in the country.

The report also noted that the administration was more concerned on “winning the war on drugs, rather than investigating and preventing these killings.”

Moreover, it also noted several defects in the implementation of intensified anti-illegal drug campaign which, as of last Sept. 15, claimed the lives of 986 since June 30, including innocent individuals, including children, treated as “collateral damage” in the anti-drive campaign.

“The rash of extrajudicial and summary killings has become a serious concern not only domestically but also internationally. We cannot claim success in the government’s war against drugs if there are innocent individuals who are being summarily killed or those apprehended were not accorded due process of the law,” de Lima said.

De Lima, who was former justice secretary, earlier filed Senate Bill No. 1197 which seeks to define extrajudicial killings and imposing penalties of life imprisonment without parole for any public officer, person in authority, agency of a person in authority or private individual who would be found guilty of extrajudicial killing.

Under the measure, the local chief executive and chief of police shall also be presumed administratively negligent when there is a notable increase of extrajudicial killing cases within their area of jurisdiction, except in conflict-stricken communities.

De Lima also proposed the creation of an Inter-Agency Council Against Extrajudicial Killings (Anti-EJK Council) to address institutional barriers to investigation of extrajudicial killings among concerned government agencies.

The proposed Anti-EJK Council will coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to adhere to minimum standards in the conduct of regular police intervention operations.

 

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Duterte holds talks with Brunei leader
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President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a message upon his arrival at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on September 30.  (MNS photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a message upon his arrival at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on September 30. (MNS photo)

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct. 18 (PNA) – A Palace official has described the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as very fruitful.

In a press briefing held at the guest palace Istana Edinburgh Monday, Communication Secretary Martin Andanar said President Duterte and Sultan Bolkiah discussed several issues, such as the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and the peace process.

The two leaders likewise touched on the drug situation in the Philippines, which Sultan Bolkiah recognized as a problem. The latter expressed support for the President’s anti-drug program, according to Andanar.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who formed part of the official delegation of the President in Brunei, also attended the media briefing.

During the briefing with reporters, Lopez mentioned the revival of the subregional economic grouping BIMP-EAGA given the proximity of the four countries.

Dureza, on the one hand, cited Brunei’s contribution to maintain the ceasefire in the Bangsamoro peace process.

Also part of the discussion was the 2017 ASEAN chairmanship of the Philippines.

Yasay said, “We had discussed the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN for next year. And that the Sultan himself had expressed his fullest support to our President, who will be heading the chairmanship next year.”

On the South China Sea issue, the President explained his position to Sultan Bolkiah with respect to the Philippines’ claims.

“On the part of our President, he had made it clear that in pursuing these talks with China, maybe now is not the time but eventually, when there will be the opportunity to discuss more substantively, in a bilateral engagement this issue. We will be doing so in pursuing it within the framework of the arbitral tribunal’s decision,” said Yasay.

Such one-on-one talks with foreign leaders are producing results, according to Cayetano.

”Sweeping the regions now is a new kind of DDS: Diplomacy Duterte style,” he added.

The President’s state visit to Brunei was his fourth foreign trip since assuming the presidency on June 30.

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Jessy says ‘yes’ to marrying Luis
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Jessy Mendiola (MNS photo)

Jessy Mendiola (MNS photo)

Without going into the details of her supposed relationship, actress Jessy Mendiola said she is open to the idea of marrying TV host and actor Luis Manzano.

In an interview, Mendiola was asked: “If there is one person, if there is one man, that you will marry at this point in your life, would that be Luis (Manzano)?”

She replied with a simple “Yes.”

Mendiola, however, declined to confirm if she and Luis are officially a couple.

The actress added that it is better to ask Manzano about the real status of their relationship.

Mendiola also revealed that she will attend the Star Magic Ball with Manzano.

Recently, Mendiola attended the APAN Star Awards 2016 in South Korea, where she mingled with some of South Korea’s top actors and actresses.

Mendiola, who has been named as an honorary Korea Tourism Ambassador to the Philippines, had her photos taken with Choi Jin-woong, Shin Dong-yup, Honey Lee, Chae Jung-an and “Descendants of the Sun” lead actor Song Joong-ki.(MNS)

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Jessy says ‘yes’ to marrying Luis
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Jessy Mendiola (MNS photo)

Jessy Mendiola (MNS photo)

Without going into the details of her supposed relationship, actress Jessy Mendiola said she is open to the idea of marrying TV host and actor Luis Manzano.

In an interview, Mendiola was asked: “If there is one person, if there is one man, that you will marry at this point in your life, would that be Luis (Manzano)?”

She replied with a simple “Yes.”

Mendiola, however, declined to confirm if she and Luis are officially a couple.

The actress added that it is better to ask Manzano about the real status of their relationship.

Mendiola also revealed that she will attend the Star Magic Ball with Manzano.

Recently, Mendiola attended the APAN Star Awards 2016 in South Korea, where she mingled with some of South Korea’s top actors and actresses.

Mendiola, who has been named as an honorary Korea Tourism Ambassador to the Philippines, had her photos taken with Choi Jin-woong, Shin Dong-yup, Honey Lee, Chae Jung-an and “Descendants of the Sun” lead actor Song Joong-ki.(MNS)

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House probe on violent dispersal in front of US Embassy sought
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Protesters lie on the ground after being hit by a police van during a rally against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in front of the US embassy in Manila on Wednesday. A Philippine police van rammed and ran over the protesters. (MNS photo)

Protesters lie on the ground after being hit by a police van during a rally against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in front of the US embassy in Manila on Wednesday. A Philippine police van rammed and ran over the protesters. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Oct 20 (Mabuhay) — Party-list lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc are asking the House of Representatives to investigate Wednesday’s violent dispersal in front of the US Embassy, where protesters were ran over by a police mobile.

Through House Resolution 487, the lawmakers on Thursday urged chamber to condemn the assault on the protesters, saying it was a violation of the protesters’ right to peaceably assemble as enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

The lawmakers sought that “an immediate investigation, in aid of legislation, be conducted by the House committee on human rights, with the end view of crafting more measures  protecting the interests of  marginalized groups exercising their right to peaceably assemble and air their grievances, like the  national minorities,  and penalizing state security and police forces who violate the same.”

The resolution was filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Rosas, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, who was among those hurt in the dispersal.

Eleven of the protesters were injured, three of whom seriously, and hospitalized after being ran over by the vehicle driven by P03 Franklin Kho of the Manila Police District during Wednesday’s demonstration at the US Embassy.

At least 42 others were also arrested by the police, said the lawmakers. Other protesters were injured after police used water cannons, truncheons and tear gas, they added.

The resolution said the action of the police officer driving the mobile, which was well documented by the media, was “clearly premeditated and not only aimed to maim the protestors but even to kill, as he showed no regard to the lives of the people mowed down by the police car.”

The resolution said the violent dispersal was the result of Sr. Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo not wanting “to lose face and be reprimanded by US Embassy Officials.”

“Congress must not allow such fascistic  actions of the Philippine National Police to prosper under the new administration, particularly against the marginalized sector of our society like the national minorities,” read the House resolution.

The resolution said the protesters were part of at least 3,0000 Moro and indigenous peoples from communities all over the country who came to Metro Manila beginning  October 13 to assert their “long-trampled” right to self-determination, to push the campaign for a just and lasting peace and  support the call for a truly independent foreign policy by the Duterte administration.

Protesters at the US Embassy gathered to express their continuing objections to the presence of US troops in the country, particularly during  the Balikatan exercises held in their ancestral lands.

“They also expressed their strong support to the Duterte administration’s assertion of an independent foreign policy, away from the dictate and influence by western countries, particularly the US,” read the resolution.

Earlier in the day, the NCRPO announced the relief of Pedrozo and eight other police officers from their respective posts pending results of the investigation on the incident. (MNS)

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House probe on violent dispersal in front of US Embassy sought
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Protesters lie on the ground after being hit by a police van during a rally against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in front of the US embassy in Manila on Wednesday. A Philippine police van rammed and ran over the protesters. (MNS photo)

Protesters lie on the ground after being hit by a police van during a rally against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in front of the US embassy in Manila on Wednesday. A Philippine police van rammed and ran over the protesters. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Oct 20 (Mabuhay) — Party-list lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc are asking the House of Representatives to investigate Wednesday’s violent dispersal in front of the US Embassy, where protesters were ran over by a police mobile.

Through House Resolution 487, the lawmakers on Thursday urged chamber to condemn the assault on the protesters, saying it was a violation of the protesters’ right to peaceably assemble as enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

The lawmakers sought that “an immediate investigation, in aid of legislation, be conducted by the House committee on human rights, with the end view of crafting more measures  protecting the interests of  marginalized groups exercising their right to peaceably assemble and air their grievances, like the  national minorities,  and penalizing state security and police forces who violate the same.”

The resolution was filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Rosas, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, who was among those hurt in the dispersal.

Eleven of the protesters were injured, three of whom seriously, and hospitalized after being ran over by the vehicle driven by P03 Franklin Kho of the Manila Police District during Wednesday’s demonstration at the US Embassy.

At least 42 others were also arrested by the police, said the lawmakers. Other protesters were injured after police used water cannons, truncheons and tear gas, they added.

The resolution said the action of the police officer driving the mobile, which was well documented by the media, was “clearly premeditated and not only aimed to maim the protestors but even to kill, as he showed no regard to the lives of the people mowed down by the police car.”

The resolution said the violent dispersal was the result of Sr. Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo not wanting “to lose face and be reprimanded by US Embassy Officials.”

“Congress must not allow such fascistic  actions of the Philippine National Police to prosper under the new administration, particularly against the marginalized sector of our society like the national minorities,” read the House resolution.

The resolution said the protesters were part of at least 3,0000 Moro and indigenous peoples from communities all over the country who came to Metro Manila beginning  October 13 to assert their “long-trampled” right to self-determination, to push the campaign for a just and lasting peace and  support the call for a truly independent foreign policy by the Duterte administration.

Protesters at the US Embassy gathered to express their continuing objections to the presence of US troops in the country, particularly during  the Balikatan exercises held in their ancestral lands.

“They also expressed their strong support to the Duterte administration’s assertion of an independent foreign policy, away from the dictate and influence by western countries, particularly the US,” read the resolution.

Earlier in the day, the NCRPO announced the relief of Pedrozo and eight other police officers from their respective posts pending results of the investigation on the incident. (MNS)

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