The City Government of Balanga renewed its commitment to eliminate tobacco use as it held ‘Yoko sa Yosi’, a re-launch of the pioneer program ‘Huwag Maging SAD (Smoker, Alcoholic, Drug Addict), on February 28 at the Plaza Mayor.
Clad in bright red shirts, city government employees led by Mayor Francis Anthony S. Garcia paraded along the streets at the start of the ‘Yoko sa Yosi’ launching. The parade started from the Bataan People’s Center and ended at Plaza Mayor. Coun. Jernie Jett Nisay, chair of the City Committee on Health and the rest of the city council as well as city government heads were also present.
The City Health Office (CHO) led by Dr. Mariano Antonio Banzon, organized the reinvented efforts against tobacco use in the city.
Sec. Eric Tayag of the Department of Health graced the re-launch and joined the mass Zumbaley dance exercise.
The city’s partners in health-related campaigns came from all over the country, especially the Framework Convention Alliance on Tobacco Control-Philippines (FCTC Phil), the Provincial Health Office, the Bataan Medical Society, and the Bataan Pediatric Society.
‘Yoko sa Yosi’ gained support even from the non-medical sector. The Department of Education encouraged elementary schools in Balanga City to participate in the re-launch.
The re-launch culminated in a symbolic breaking of a cigarette dummy, led by Mayor Garcia and the city’s health cooperators. Balloons were also released as a symbolic gesture of unity.
Sustaining the victory of healthy lifestyle
Huwag Maging SAD has been popularized in the city through the massive education campaign led by the CHO. Health workers visited schools, communities, and even prisons to deliver talks on tobacco’s harmful effects.
The anti-tobacco campaign reached its peak when the city government grabbed the Guinness World Record for the Largest Dance-Fitness Class in a Single Venue. The Enrique Garcia, Sr. Avenue, popularly known as the ‘four-lane avenue’ was filled with 16,000 dancers who preferred a healthy lifestyle to smoking.
Recognizing the need to sustain these leaps, Mayor Garcia pursued the revival of the city’s anti-smoking drive through ‘Yoko sa Yosi’. The CHO is also gearing for a more comprehensive approach on tobacco products’ eradication, especially among the youth. By Arli Joshua Atienza