06 June 2014 – The World Health Organization (WHO) lauded the Philippines for being a good example in its efforts to reduce tobacco smoking with the passage of the sin tax law. 


“Tobacco taxes is the most effective policy in reducing tobacco consumption,” Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Margaret Chan said during her meeting with Ambassador Cecilia Rebong, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organizations on June 4 at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.


The two leaders met against a backdrop of an increasing importance of approaching health issues in a global context. 


As more diseases and health issues are no longer limited by national boundaries, Ambassador Rebong emphasized the increasing importance of the role of WHO as global health issues require an interdisciplinary approach from those working in health, diplomacy, economic, politico-security sectors. “Pandemics, airborne diseases, climate-change related diseases need serious attention of the international community as they are not just national issues,” Ambassador Rebong said.


Both female leaders noted the record-breaking turnout during the recent 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva held from May 19 to 24, where at least 3,500 delegates attended to contribute in advancing health.  More than 20 resolutions were passed to address health challenges being faced by the world today.   “This attests to the attention being given to global health issues,” Director-General Chan said.


The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in June 2012 highlighted the fact that better health is a “precondition for, an outcome of, and an indicator of all three dimensions of sustainable development”.


“We hope that there is one health goal in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Director General Chan said.  This would allow us to work into issues such as malaria, tuberculosis, mental health, maternal and newborn health, universal health care and other relevant and or emerging health issues, ” she added.


During the meeting, the two leaders also discussed the Philippine’s commitment in achieving Millenium Development Goals 4 and 5 and the Philippine experience in Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). 



Ambassador Rebong thanked the WHO for its assistance in delivering essential and emergency health relief to the victims of the recent typhoon.  She also emphasized that the Philippines is following the principle of “building back better” in its reconstruction efforts to ensure that structures being built could withstand future natural and man-made disasters.  END