February 21, 2024

The DOH takes this opportunity to express the following points:

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is an international health treaty against the tobacco epidemic [1]. Our Constitution provides for an adherence to general principles of international law as part of the law of the land. One of these principles is the basic rule of pacta sunt servanda or the performance in good faith of a state’s treaty obligations [2].

It is undisputed that tobacco kills. As the national technical authority on health, the DOH serves as the key executive government agency for promoting tobacco control in the country [3]. The DOH hopes to lead country delegations to the COP of WHO FCTC and be granted the privilege of formulating a healthy national position on COP agenda items.

It is essential for the Philippines to be regarded as adherent to international law, which includes the WHO FCTC. This is important for the Philippines to maintain a reputation as a credible member of the international community.

The composition of the Philippine delegation to COP10, now on query, may be seen as an offshoot of the impression generated by the transfer of regulatory jurisdiction over novel tobacco products like vape, from the DOH to the DTI [4], and the “balanced approach” in a health meeting.

There are other international venues and fora for non-health executive government agencies to represent the country, and this can be coordinated by the DFA.

The Department of Health acknowledges the helpful guidance of SDES Hubert Guevara in leading the Philippine delegation at COP10 to strong positions on tobacco control given the circumstances.



[1] Signed by the Philippines on September 23, 2003 and ratified by the Philippine Senate on June 6, 2005 (P.S. Res. No. 195, s. 2005)

[2] Article 2, Section 2, of the 1987 Philippine Constitution

[3] In accordance with the Administrative Code of 1987 and as ruled by the Supreme Court in DOH vs. Philippine Tobacco Institute, G.R. No. 200431, July 13, 2021

[4] Per RA 11900 which lapsed into law in 2022