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MANILA -- HealthJustice Philippines has been singled out to receive the Bloomberg Awards for demonstrating excellent progress or achievement in monitoring the epidemic and prevention policies as required by the World Health Organization in the MPOWER policies.
The MPOWER strategy are the six most effective -- and proven -- tobacco control interventions. Aside from monitoring the epidemic and prevention policies, they are: protecting people from secondhand smoke, offering help to people who want to quit, warning about the dangers of tobacco, enforcing bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship, raising taxes and prices.
"Tobacco kills every day but we are fighting back," said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City during the awards ceremony for Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control held at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health.
"Our awardees represent the thousands of heroes who are taking on the fight against tobacco in their countries, regions, and cities every day. We are honoring those who have shown exemplary progress since our efforts commenced in 2007, and we hope their work will inspire to achieve similar success," said Bloomberg.
President of HealthJustice Dr. Daniel Tan received the award on behalf of the organization from Mayor Bloomberg. Dr. Tan shared the award with partners who have fought hard to prevent and counter tobacco industry interference citing Department of Health, Civil Service Commission, Metro Manila Development Authority, the Department of Education, Land Transportation Regulatory Board, and Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance.
Dr. Tan cited Mayor Bloomberg's words as he ended his speech. "This is our duty, our sacred calling."
In an interview, Managing Director Irene Reyes shared, "It is definitely encouraging and affirming to have international support especially when working in a country where tobacco grabs the crown from the grips of public health. This award belongs to all developing countries that are relentlessly fighting to break free from the murdering claws of tobacco. Drawing strength from Mayor Bloomberg and Dr. Margaret Chan's strong words: 'we will win.' Lives and relationships will be saved."
Other awardees include Turkish National Coalition on Tobacco or Health, Uruguay Ministry of Health, Corporate Accountability International Colombia, Fundacion para la Educacion y el Esarrollo Social, and Egypt's Ministry of Finance.
South East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance recognizes the contributions of HealthJustice and lauds their work to strengthen the implementation of WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3 both at the national and regional levels.
“What HealthJustice has accomplished is a first in Asia. Their significant contributions to alert and partner with governments in proceeding with the premise that the tobacco industry is not a stakeholder but the problem in efforts to curb tobacco use and to protect the health of the public," says SEATCA senior policy advisor Dr. Mary Assunta.
"We are impressed with and inspired by the work that is going on around the world to fight the tobacco epidemic," said Kelly Henning, M.D., who heads up global health efforts for Bloomberg Philanthropies. "Their work is saving lives."