Tobacco growers expressed triumph over the result of a recent world convention on tobacco control which was conducted in Uruguay and which supposedly resulted in the protection of the tobacco industry against too restrictive guidelines in the production of cigarettes.
At the same time, the Philippine Tobacco Growers’ Association (PTGA), thanks to its president Winston Uy approved the Philippine delegation to the convention led by Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya for being able to persuade delegates from other countries not to depart from the true intensions of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Other members were from the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture and the UP College of Law.
The Philippine delegation assisted at the 171-nation conference in Uruguay where guidelines on Articles 9 and 10 of the FCTC were discussed.
The Philippines were against the proposed guidelines which were created to ban the use of particular ingredients in the production of cigarettes.
Department of Trade and Industry instead was in favor of the regulation on the use of tobacco ingredients and even supported scientific evidence for the ban of any tobacco ingredient.
Tobacco growers declared that an irregular and without any scientific base ban on ingredients will lead to a prohibition of blended cigarettes in the Philippines. "This action would have an essential effect on tobacco manufacture, and would negatively affect tobacco growers, producers, retailers and affiliated industries," Uy stated.
Speaking favorably of the Philippine delegation, the PTGA chief stated that it was very convincing for FCTC when speaking to delegates about the true intentions of the FCTC, which is to regulate the usage of tobacco ingredients and not adopt a complete ban on tobacco ingredients. Guidelines suggested by FCTC would have prohibited the usage of burley that is mainly grown in Philippines and is used in cigarette production.
"We are satisfied with the results. Our members became united in order to oppose the suggested guidelines," stated Andy Reyes, president of the Philippine Association of Tobacco-Based Cooperatives (PATCO).
"It better for the FCTC delegates to remember that the treaty intends to control the usage of tobacco, and not to eliminate tobacco industry," stated Uy.
PTGA also charged anti-tobacco advocates of being hypocritical and lying, stating that they were under-represented in the Philippine delegation
"First of all, the debates in Uruguay involved governments so what is the ground for accession of the anti-tobacco organizations in the Philippine delegation?" Uy asked.
"These anti-tobacco advocates haven’t grudged before when the original Philippine delegation consisted of the Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, and the UP College of Law Foundation," concluded Uy.