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‘Tobacco CSRs are a distraction to the real cost of smoking’ – law group

Aside from killing 117,000 Filipinos every year due to cigarettes and second-hand smoke, tobacco-related healthcare costs took away 65.80 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2012.

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Photo by Matt Tsir from Unsplash.com

Every year, the country loses at least 260 billion pesos due to tobacco-related healthcare cost and productivity losses, according to law group ImagineLaw, citing data from the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

“The tobacco industry is an economic liability,” said Atty. Anna Bueno, ImagineLaw policy associate. “Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and donations from tobacco companies are insignificant compared to the real costs of smoking,” she added.

Aside from killing 117,000 Filipinos every year due to cigarettes and second-hand smoke, tobacco-related healthcare costs took away 65.80 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2012, according to the law group, citing the same report.

While the country loses at least 260 billion pesos yearly due to tobacco-related healthcare costs, taxes collected from cigarettes amounted to  P148.45 billion in 2020, according to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Despite these alarming numbers, the tobacco industry continues to sell and market a product that kills half of its users, according to the law group. “In the time of a pandemic where it has been shown that smokers are at a greater risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes, tobacco companies’ CSR activities are nothing but distractions and a way to relax tobacco control policies,” Atty. Bueno also said.

Tobacco-related illnesses translate to financial losses in the workforce, according to the law group. “These illnesses force an individual to temporarily or permanently stop going to work, contributing to major losses in human productivity,” the lawyer said.

“The Philippines is losing so much to the tobacco industry. We are not only talking about billions of pesos, we are also losing dreams and aspirations. Imagine a father, who has just entered the productive years of his life, falling victim to a lung disease caused by smoking,” she said. “You mourn the life of the father, but the burden of his death also affects a whole family in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.”

”No act of public relations or PR can mask the reality that tobacco is dangerous and deadly,” ImagineLaw emphasized. “The tobacco industry’s donations are nothing compared to the amount of resources it depletes and the number of lives it claims.”

“Instead of falling into the PR trap of cigarette companies, the government should boost its anti-smoking campaigns and strengthen smoking cessation programs,” urged Atty. Bueno. “The government should also continue to reject any move by the tobacco companies and their fronts to relax tobacco control policies,” she added.

The law group declared that tobacco companies should be held liable by the government for making smokers and secondhand smokers more susceptible to severe COVID-19 symptoms. “Tobacco companies put public health at risk, there’s no denying that,” added Atty. Bueno.

“Now, more than ever, the government needs to remain steadfast against moves by the tobacco industry to interfere with our public health policies. These policies should be upheld and their implementation strengthened. What we urgently need is a stronger public health system, not  tactical donations that are only meant to take away our resources and lives,” she concluded.

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NewsMakers

Clorox PH partners with PAL to help enhance travelers’ health, safety

Clorox Philippines worked with PAL to enhance the safety of their customers by providing Clorox products in PAL’s airport hubs and ticket offices across the Philippines.

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As health and safety became a top concern amid the pandemic, especially for travelers, Clorox Philippines, one of the country’s leading providers of cleaning and disinfecting products, collaborated with the flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL). 

Clorox Philippines worked with PAL to enhance the safety of their customers by providing Clorox products in PAL’s airport hubs and ticket offices across the Philippines. PAL received Clorox Expert Disinfectant Sprays, Clorox Expert Disinfecting Wipes canisters, Clorox Clean-Up All-Purpose Cleaner, and Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaners to disinfect its vital facilities and amenities. 

“The health and safety of our passengers are our top priorities. We are pleased to have partnered with Clorox Philippines, which shares our values in upholding the safety and welfare of consumers. As more people go back to flying, our partnership is significant and timely,” said Ria Carrion-Domingo, Vice President for Marketing at PAL. 

Clorox Expert Disinfecting Wipes were also given to PAL’s arriving international and domestic passengers and customers of ticket offices nationwide from December 31, 2021, to March 2022, catering to almost 22,000 travelers. 

“We are always committed to making the lives of every Filipino better each day with our Clorox products amid these uncertain times. And with our collaboration with PAL, we are happy that we can assist in making their travelers safe,” said Monique Gonzales, Marketing Manager for Southeast Asia at Clorox International. 

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Medical Depot expands from north to south of the country

With at least 12 more new stores set to open until end of 2022, Medical Depot recently signs a partnership with Union Bank to strengthen its financial capacity in fulfilling its goals of having 200 total number of stores by 2025.

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With the desire to continue serving more and more Filipinos with quality medical products, Medical Depot grew its total number of strategic branches from 24 stores in 2021 to 38 stores year to date and expanded its geographic footprint to cover 34 cities within Luzon. The company is also expected to establish its presence in the Southern part of the country towards the end of the year. 

Medical Depot started its humble beginnings in 1991 with just 1 branch located in Bambang, Manila and with only three sales personnel. It grew steadily after a few years. Having the vision to further reach more Filipinos, an extensive expansion plan was launched in the first quarter of last year. Since then, the company has been growing at a 50% rate in new branches and has positioned it to be able to serve more localities and increasing the number of total families that can be serviced from hospitals to patients. 

“It has always been our mission to bring quality medical products to our countrymen and to ensure that we are able to service the increasing medical needs of Filipino families in various communities. Our expansion plan that we rolled out is a testament to this mission and we’re glad that we’re on track to open our 40th store by this June,” states Rudy Medina, Chairman of Medical Depot. 

With at least 12 more new stores set to open until end of 2022, Medical Depot recently signs a partnership with Union Bank to strengthen its financial capacity in fulfilling its goals of having 200 total number of stores by 2025. This further fuels the growth trajectory of the company and will support its plan to open its first ever operating and production hub in Mindanao with that will bring its thousands of quality medical products to the southern parts of the country.

In addition to the expanded locations, Medical Depot is also investing in research and development to increase its available items from 5,000 to 10,000 different products and supplies that will cater to various medical demands.

“Medical Depot’s legacy is really about helping the country by addressing the medical needs of our fellowmen with reasonably priced, top-quality medical products. Our efforts to reach more Filipinos by opening new strategic branches across the country in the last 6 months and working to open our hub in the Mindanao region speaks for this and this is truly a milestone for the company,” shares Baby Medina, Vice Chairman of Medical Depot.

The road to success for Medical Depot may not have been a smooth ride but with its constant commitment and care for the medical needs of the Filipinos, the company is on track to continue to succeed by serving the communities through quality medical supplies.

To learn more about Medical Depot and, visit https://medicaldepot.com.ph/ or their Facebook page for updates.

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How to get the best wedding photos ever

Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.

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Photo by Joel Overbeck from Unsplash.com

According to The New York Times, 2022 will be the biggest year for the wedding industry since 1984. After two years of delays and cancellations, everyone is going to the proverbial chapel to tie the knot. One of the most important elements for many couples are the photos and videos, preserving this special moment forever.

“In the end, having tangible memories you’ll cherish for years to come is a better investment than party favors or fancy table linen,” said Rachel LaCour Niesen, Head of Market Intelligence

A graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism, LaCour Niesen forged a career as a professional wedding photographer and photojournalist where she developed the first CRM for pro photographers. While still continuing her passion in professional photography, LaCour Niesen also serves as Head of Market Intelligence at ShootProof, a platform used by 300,000 photographers to share, deliver, print, & sell their photos. Just in the last year, Shootproof managed wedding galleries received 2.8 million visits per month – and that number is anticipated to grow in 2022. 

Her advice when shopping for a wedding photographer? “Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.”

For one of the most important days in someone’s life, Rachel has a few “dos” before you say “I Do”

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations. “Word-of-mouth referrals are a great way to curate a list of prospective photographers and videographers.” says Rachel. “After all, your friends and family know you better than anyone else.”
  • Spend time viewing their online portfolios. According to Rachel, “a lot of people can take a few great photos or videos. To tell a more complete “story” of a wedding celebration requires more skill, patience, and thoroughness.”
  • Look closely to see if the photographers and videographers you are interested in have shot weddings in many types of lighting conditions. “It’s pretty easy to capture stunning photos outdoors during “golden hour,” around sunset,” Rachel remarked. “But it’s much, much harder to capture stunning photos in a dimly-lit event space like a hotel ballroom or dance club.”
  • Ask whether photo products are included in their booking fee and/or package price. “To me, every couple should end up having a wedding album or book–a tangible one, not just an online slideshow,” Rachel said. “I still have copies of my grandparent’s wedding photos hanging in my home. They inspire me and bring back so many memories of our family stories. Plus my son is now curious to hear about his great grandparents too and I can point right to those photos and use them to spark conversation.”

Wedding photography does not just document the union itself, but all the family members and friends who came together to celebrate. “Sometimes, the most cherished photo is not that ‘kiss the bride’ moment but that last family image with a beloved grandparent. Weddings are those precious occasions where people rally together in a grand act of joy.”

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