World No Tobacco Awards 2023: Philippine Senator Pia S. Cayetano recognized by the World Health Organization for her work on tobacco control, health promotion
Senator Pia S. Cayetano was recently named as one of this year’s recipients of the prestigious World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) awards.
The annual awards given by the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize outstanding individuals and organizations in six different regions around the world for their work on tobacco regulation and health promotion.
Known for championing several landmark measures on health and tobacco control, Cayetano was the only Filipino and individual recipient among the WHO’s list of awardees in the Western Pacific Region.
Cayetano’s fellow awardees in the region are all government agencies, namely: Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport; the Cultural and Social Committee of the National Assembly of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health.
This year’s WNTD award recipients were announced by the WHO days ahead of the celebration of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, and as Senator Cayetano was attending the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WHO’s announcement was welcomed by the Department of Health (DOH) and health advocates.
“The [DOH] is pleased to inform everyone that Senator Pia S. Cayetano from the Philippines has recently been acknowledged for her dedicated advocacy in promoting the global campaign against tobacco, known as World No Tobacco,” the DOH said in a Facebook post.
“The [WHO] grants such acknowledgments worldwide, aiming to eliminate tobacco use and encourage healthier lifestyles across the globe,” the post added.
Health advocates, including the non-government organization, HealthJustice, and Dr. Yul Dorotheo, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) likewise congratulated Cayetano.
“Congratulations Senator @piacayetano
karangalan po namin sa HealthJustice Philippines at Civil Society Organizations na makasama kayo sa iba’t ibang adbokasiya ng #TobaccoControl,” Health justice said in a tweet.
“Salamat po sa paglaban sa kalusugan ng mamamayang Pilipino lalo na sa mga Kabataan!” the group added.
Meanwhile, Dorotheo tweeted, “Congratulations to Sen. @piacayetano for receiving this year’s World No Tobacco Day Award. Much deserved for her contributions to tobacco control and struggle against the tobacco industry.”
To recall, Cayetano fought for the passage of the Sin Tax Laws of 2012 and 2020, both of which underwent extensive debates in plenary. These measures imposed higher excise taxes on ‘sin’ products, including cigarettes and vapes, to fund universal health care and other public health programs.
It was also Cayetano who pushed for the enactment of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Law in 2009. One of the measure’s most crucial provisions, which mandated the FDA to regulate tobacco products was recently upheld by the Supreme Court in a historic decision last year.
Finally, Cayetano was instrumental in passing the Graphic Health Warning (GHW) Law, which required the printing of picture-based health warnings on the packaging of cigarettes and tobacco products. This GHW measure was first sponsored by the senator in 2008, and was passed six years later in 2014. #
•Link to the World Health Organization announcement: https://www.who.int/news/item/25-05-2023-world-no-tobacco-day-2023-awards—the-winners
•Link to the Facebook post of the World Health Organization https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid027oxAUiNmdin4EBkDL61DuPY1vZgRnneUtpNaPiq97HGxaFXBenAF8sApqaefr2orl&id=100064703437033&mibextid=Nif5oz
•Link to the tweet of HealthJustice https://twitter.com/HealthJusticePH/status/1662300625894244352?t=UclwV2aeUkzvd8LRUbjMEQ&s=08
•Link to the tweet of Dr. Yul Dorotheo https://twitter.com/YulDorotheo/status/1662016111410565120?t=nS7dDfqMgkaOlZYgBWJ_pA&s=19