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GOOD NEWS: Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have identified picture-based health warnings on cigarette packs as an urgent priority measure and agreed to pass it before this session's adjournment next week. BAD NEWS: The tobacco industry proposes small warnings placed at the bottom of cigarette packs, and have demanded to participate in the implementation of this new law through the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco (IAC-T). LET US NOT BE FOOLED. WHAT CAN WE DO: Large, full-color, and hard-hitting pictures that clearly show the health harms of tobacco use will effectively warn smokers, discourage young non-smokers from starting, help reduce tobacco use, and contribute, in the long run, to improving public health and reducing poverty. Neighboring countries require such pictorial warnings: Brunei (75% of the front and back of cigarette packs), Thailand (55% front and back), Malaysia (50% front and 60% back), and Singapore, Vietnam, and Hong Kong (50% front and back). THESE COUNTRIES DO NOT ALLOW THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY TO PARTICIPATE IN IMPLEMENTING THEIR HEALTH LAWS. To defend the welfare of the Filipino people, Senator Pia Cayetano has FIRMLY rejected Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s proposal to appoint the IAC-T instead of the Department of Health (DOH) as the body mandated to draw up the guidelines for the measure, including the templates for the picture-based health warnings that must be followed by tobacco manufacturers. WE NEED MORE STRONG HEALTH CHAMPIONS LIKE SEN. PIA CAYETANO! As advocates for public health and social justice, let us all support Senate Bill 27 of Sen. Pia Cayetano and call on other lawmakers to defend her version of bill during the bicameral conference committee meeting that will be held TODAY: JUNE 6, 2014! Let us all together urgently call on our legislators to affirm the Philippine commitment to protect and promote the fundamental rights to health and life and to reject the tobacco industry's unreasonable proposals. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. IT IS TIME FOR US TO BE HEARD: THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY SHOULD KEEP ITS HANDS OFF OUR LAW!