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Country Details For

Philippines

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Introduction

The Philippines became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on September 4, 2005.

Smoke Free Places: Smoking is prohibited in enumerated indoor public places and workplaces such as government facilities, healthcare and educational institutions, and facilities frequented by minors while, in other public places and workplaces, including bars and nightclubs, designated smoking areas are allowed.  Smoking is prohibited in public land transportation vehicles and terminals.  Sub-national jurisdictions may enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: Many forms of tobacco advertising and promotion are prohibited, though tobacco advertising and promotion at points of sale and free distribution of tobacco products, among other promotional activities, are allowed. Tobacco companies are prohibited from publicizing their sponsorship of sports, concert, and cultural arts events and from engaging in government-related sponsorships.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: Rotating text-only health warning labels covering 30 percent of the front of the package are required on tobacco product packaging. A new law was passed in July 2014, which will require graphic health warnings on 50 percent of each of the principal display areas of tobacco product packaging. The new requirements will go into effect in 2016.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: Republic Act No. 9211, also known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, is an omnibus law regulating smoking in public places; sales to minors; packaging and labeling of tobacco products; and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. The Inter-Agency Tobacco-Committee issued Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (Rep. Act No. 9211). Like the law to which the rules apply, the Committee’s Rules and Regulations are comprehensive and cover a broad range of topics on tobacco control. In addition to the advertising, promotion and sponsorship provisions in Rep. Act No. 9211 and the Inter-Agency Tobacco-Committee’s Implementing Rules and Regulations, the Consumer Act of the Philippines (Rep. Act No. 7394) addresses false, deceptive, or misleading advertising in general. 

Smoke free policies are further regulated by two circulars: (1) Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board of the Department of Transportation and Communications Memo. Circular No. 2009-036 (regarding smoking in public utility vehicles and land transportation terminals) and (2) Civil Service Commission Memo. Circular No. 17, s. 2009 (regarding smoking in all areas of government premises, buildings, and grounds). Each of these circulars was issued pursuant to Rep. Act No. 9211.

Issued in May 2010, Administrative Order No. 2010-0013 requires graphic health information to be displayed on tobacco packaging and prohibits the use of misleading information that directly or indirectly create or are likely to create the false impression that a tobacco product or brand is less harmful than any other tobacco product or brand. However, before the Administrative Order took effect, tobacco companies filed various lawsuits in several cities to challenge the validity of the Administrative Order. As of the date of this review, the Administrative Order has not been implemented.

The Graphic Health Warnings Law, Republic Act No. 10643, was approved in July 2014 and, once in effect, will require graphic health warnings on 50 percent of each of the principal display areas. The Department of Health will issue the graphic health warning templates, after which manufacturers will have one year to comply with the new requirements.

In June 2010, the Philippines’ Civil Service Commission and Department of Health issued the first-of-its-kind Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2010-01 on the Protection of the Bureaucracy Against Tobacco Industry Interference, which, among other measures, provides specific guidelines for interactions with the tobacco industry. In May 2010, the Department of Health issued Department Memorandum No. 2010-0126, which is aimed at protecting the department and all attached agencies against tobacco industry interference. The Department of Education issued a similar order (No. 6) in January 2012. In addition, the Omnibus Elections Code of the Philippines (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881) prohibits the use of cigarettes as election propaganda. 

The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authority to regulate tobacco products has been challenged by the Philippine Tobacco Institute and is being litigated. In March 2011, the Department of Health, in consultation with the FDA, published new implementing rules defining how tobacco products will be regulated.

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.

Last updated: December 1st 2014
The materials and analysis available at this website are for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.