Development of an omnibus policy for tobacco control in the Philippine department of health
More details
Hide details
Alliance for Improved Health Outcomes, Philippines
University of the Philippines-Diliman, College of Law, Philippines
HealthJustice Philippines, Philippines
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A651
Download abstract book (PDF)

Background and challenges to implementation:
It is the primary mandate of the Department of Health (DOH) to formulate policies and programs in the field of health and to advocate for health promotion and healthy lifestyles for the general population in the Philippines. In leading the country´s tobacco control effort, it has issued various administrative issuances throughout several decades, which led to regulatory regime complexes, regulatory gaps, and disparate operational mechanisms. With evolving tobacco control norms, as well as changes in inter-agency implementing set-ups, policies continue to be amended without a rational structure that integrates or harmonises past issuances.

Intervention or response:
Comprehensive legal review of all tobacco control laws/administrative issuances, as well as stakeholder consultations through key informant interviews with the DOH´s National Tobacco Control Program and members of civil society were conducted. Fourteen (14) Administrative Orders from 1993 to 2014 were surveyed, together with several Department Orders, Memorandum Circulars, and inter-agency issuances.

Results and lessons learnt:
An Omnibus Policy on Tobacco Control was developed, rationalising, integrating, and harmonising the implementation of all extant DOH administrative issuances. An analytical tool was designed to rationalise issuances across wide implementation timeframes, utilising and simplifying methods of statutory construction. Horizon scanning guided by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the WHO´s Health Systems Building Blocks framework, the Sustainable Development Goals, and overarching national economic and public health sector plans set out the fundamental strategies for a 2017-2030 Policy Development Plan on Tobacco Control.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Tobacco control regime complexes and regulatory gaps result from the difficulty of determining issuance provisions that have been impliedly repealed. The analytical tool developed threshed out repealed provisions, which would allow actors and stakeholders to fulfil individual mandates. Both Omnibus Policy on Tobacco Control and 2017-2030 Policy Development Plan on Tobacco Control would guide the DOH in formulating policies that strengthen the Philippines´ compliance with the FCTC.