HealthJustice Philippines, a think tank and advocacy group with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, congratulated Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, a known tobacco control advocate, for receiving one of World Health Organization’s (WHO) World No Tobacco Day 2017 awards.
“We congratulate Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial for receiving a World No Tobacco Day 2017 award from no less than the World Health Organization. She has always been at the forefront of protecting public health from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. When she was appointed Health Secretary by President Duterte, there was never any doubt that she would remain a staunch ally in tobacco control,” said Mary Ann Fernandez Mendoza, president and trustee of HealthJustice, a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control and Programme Partner of the NCD Alliance.
The award was given on May 30, one day ahead of World No Tobacco Day, which is observed every 31st of May.
Ubial was particularly recognized for her involvement in the conceptualization of the Orchid Awards, which are given to national and local government offices and hospitals that have implemented tobacco control policies well. She was lauded for prioritizing the drafting of the “smoke-free EO” or Duterte’s Executive Order 26 prohibiting smoking in public spaces.
Gundo Weiler of WHO described Ubial as consistently “saying no to tobacco to protect health, reduce poverty, and promote development”, and that her involvement in the crafting of the smoke-free EO “shows the sincere commitment […] to protecting the public from carcinogenic secondhand smoke.”
“It is a well-deserved award. Those of us in the tobacco control movement can attest to that,” Mendoza added.