• DepEd intensifies tobacco control policy

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    THE Department of Education (DepEd) will train principals and other members of a school’s child protection committee on comprehensive tobacco control.

    The committees, established in every school nationwide since 2012, is the focal group that shall ensure the effective implementation of DepEd Order No. 48 S. 2016, or the Policy and Guidelines on Comprehensive Tobacco Control.

    Health officers, program specialists and writers from the DepEd central office and the regional and division offices in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and the National Capital Region, participated in a “writeshop” held in Teachers’ Camp, Baguio City on March 8-10 to draft the content of the training manual on the effective implementation of the department order.

    “Participating in this writeshop made me realize how rich DepEd is with skilled and talented people who can address and deliver the need to ‘give teeth’ in implementing the Department Order, needing just a little leading to the right direction and support from strategically identified partners,” Dr. Pearl Oliveth Intia, Medical Officer IV from DepEd-Region IV-A (Mimaropa) who participated in the writeshop, said.

    Resource persons were representatives from partner agencies and organizations, namely the Department of Health (DOH), Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (Seatca), and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Alliance Philippines.

    “The content of the training, as drafted in the writeshop, is consistent with DepEd’s vision of ensuring that their educators are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to guide students in valuing smoke-free habits and environments,” Lourdes Risa Yapchiongco, Project Team Leader of the DOH-The Union Project, said.

    Department Order No. 48 Series of 2016 aims to facilitate the enforcement of tobacco control policies in schools and offices, with emphasis on the protection against tobacco industry interference in the Education department. The department order defines tobacco industry interference as “the broad array of tactics and strategies utilized by the tobacco industry to influence or interfere with the setting and implementation of tobacco control policies.”

    “If this training can successfully prevent our youths from the false allure of tobacco companies, whether it be smoking or working for the industry, it will be a huge contribution to the human and socio-economic development of our country, both currently and in the decades to come,” Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Seatca’s FCTC Director, said.

    Both the writeshop and the training were coordinated under a DepEd project implemented in partnership with the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund.

    “This upcoming training on comprehensive tobacco control is consistent with the Department’s priority to educate DepEd personnel and students on substance use and abuse,” Dr. Maria Corazon Dumlao, Chief of the School Health Division of DepEd, under which the project is initiated, said. Dumlao, a trained prevention specialist and global master trainer on the Universal Prevention Curriculum for Substance Use, was also a resource person during the writeshop.

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