ILOILO City – A US-based group that advocates against tobacco use will visit this city on Feb. 15 to 16.
Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force director Iñigo Garingalao said Bloomberg Foundation’s visit is a rare opportunity for Iloilo.
Bloomberg Foundation – which funds organizations campaigning against tobacco use – will observe the city’s anti-smoking program.
“Gusto nila makita ang actual naton nga ginahimo sa field. For example, ang dakpanay,” said Garingalao.
He added that the visitors will have a hard time finding cigarette advertisement materials in the city, which proves that the local government unit is stern in its anti-smoking campaign.
On the second day, members of the Bloomberg team will attend a forum with Mayor Jose Espinosa III, City Health Office personnel and Department of Health Region 6 director Dr. Marlyn Convocar.
They will also meet children in Lapuz district participating in the city’s KiSS (Kids Smoke-free Storytelling) Program.
The program, which aims to educate children about the harmful effects of tobacco, began in 2014.
It has been replicated by other local government units in the country.
“We start them young. Kids are marginalized sector of smoking. Sila ginasugo. Sila gina-entice. Sila ginabugahan aso,” Garingalao said.
Bloomberg Foundation is spearheaded by the Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.
The team will be accompanied by representatives from the Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance, Vital Strategies, Tobacco Freekid, and John Hopkins University of Baltimore – Maryland.
Garingalao said the foundation’s visit could help in materializing his “dream project” – a “mobile cessation clinic,” which can go to barangays to campaign against smoking and help those who want to quit.
“Whoever wants to quit smoking, balikbalikan sang mobile clinic ta,” he added./PN