Child rights advocates call on Duterte: Let your last act as president save generations of Pinoy kids from dangers of vaping
June 28 – Following reports that the enrolled copy of the consolidated House Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 2239 or the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Bill has only reached Malacañang just this Friday, June 24, child rights advocates under the banner of Child Rights Network (CRN) reiterated their call on the president to veto the dangerous bill.
“We call on President Duterte to thwart the insidious scheme of the moneyed backers of this bill to belatedly transmit the ratified bill to the president to evade closer scrutiny from the outgoing administration. Mr. President, even though you only have about two working days before your term expires, we reiterate our call for you to decisively veto this dangerous bill and save generations of Filipino children from the perils of this proposed legislation,” said CRN Convenor Romeo Dongeto.
CRN lambasted how relevant congressional offices seemingly corroborated to ensure that the ratified bill will only reach the president’s desk at the 11th hour, despite being ratified as early as January 2022.
“Those behind this move blatantly want the president to be left in a tough position, as he will not have enough time to study its provisions. Yet we implore the president, listen to your own people – including the Department of Health, Education, and the Food and Drug Administration – their position is clear: the Vape Bill should not be signed into law,” Dongeto explained.
‘Thinly disguised toxic bill’
CRN reiterated the dangers posed by the Vape Bill, calling it a “toxic legislation masquerading as a trade regulation bill.”
“Mr. President, passing this bill into law will undoubtedly undermine your vaunted legacy of fighting against dangerous drugs, illegal substances, and smoking. It will open the floodgates to a future where dangerous substances can easily reach the Filipino population, especially Filipino children. Will your conscience allow that Mr. President?” Dongeto asked.
Experts note that the Vape Bill essentially relaxes regulations on the sale, distribution, use, and promotion of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes, and vaporized nicotine products (VNPs), giving the tobacco industry a free pass to reach even children.
“Sponsors of the bill parrot the tobacco industry’s line that the Vape Bill seeks to strengthen regulations to discourage minors from using cigarette alternatives. This is far from the truth,” Dongeto said.
CRN noted that the consolidated bill lowers the minimum age of access to e-cigarettes from age 21 to 18, setting aside the proposal of several health experts to maintain 21 years old, which is the existing age restriction based on Republic Act 11467.
Despite putting several restrictions on flavor descriptors for ENDS and VNPs, the consolidated bill also gives a free pass on producers to use of addictive flavors that attract use among the younger generation, and even allows the online sale of e-cigarettes. “It’s like saying you’ve done nothing wrong even if you put poison in a drink, but skip on labelling it as poison,” Dongeto said.
“There is still time, Mr. President. Veto the Vape Bill and make one of your last acts as leader of our nation one that will be heralded by child rights advocates for years to come,” Dongeto concluded.###
About Child Rights Network
Child Rights Network is the largest alliance of organizations and agencies pushing for children’s rights legislation in the Philippines. www.childrightsnetwork.ph
Richard Dy, CRN
Au Quilala, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development