Dr. Anthony “Tony” C. Leachon: Sin Tax Bill Advocate, Promotor of Preventive Health
By: Mj Gonzales via vigorbuddy.com
Fundamentally, healthier body can be achieve by first eating the right food. However, this concept is simply difficult like reaching the peak of the Mount Everest . Dr. Anthony “Tony” C. Leachon possibly aware of this, but still the award-winning H.E.R.O. and Sin Tax Bill advocate and President of Philippine College of Physicians Foundation and the President of the UST (University of Sto. Tomas) Medical Alumni Association 2015-2016 is enthusiastic in leading Filipinos to attain healthy body.
Leachon, himself, is quite accomplished and respected in his field. He has remarkable credentials that make him both certified expert and believable in what he’s talking about. The proud Mindoreno attained his Doctor of Medicine (M.D. Degree) in 1985 from the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and then he became one of the PRC medical board topnotchers in June 1986 . For several years, he serves as the cardiologist and internist at the Manila Doctors Hospital. Besides this, he was also the former Director of Information, Publications, and Public Affairs of the University of the Philippines- Manila (June 2012 to October 2014) , an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Thailand (2015) and Malaysia (2014), and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (2014)
What’s also notable about Dr. Leachon is his campaigns is for greater good of all. Some of his commendable accomplishments area being the Distinguished Fellow of the Philippine College of Physicians in 2006, one of the Outstanding Filipino Physicians (TOFP) in 2008 by DOH and Phil Jaycees, Outstanding Filipino Awardee in Medicine (TOFIL) in 2010 by the Phil Jaycees Senate, receiver of Manila Doctors Hospital Exemplar Award in January 2015 for his topnotch service to the company, Ulirang Ama Awardee for Medicine for 2015, Most Outstanding Alumnus in Community Service by the UST MAAA in America (July 2015), and last September 26, he received RAPPLER Civic Mover Award for 2015 .
In Leachon’s the interview with Vigor Buddy and Executive Chronicles, he said that he began his career as a healer. But because of money problems before, he went to corporate world and served different medical institutions after he graduated from cardiology in UP-PGH (University of the Philippines- Philippine General Hospital), and UST.
“I didn’t realize that I will go to corporate world but my eldest son din was [delivered] premature so I needed a job really and then you are starting up sa practice,” Dr. Leachon said. “I was really working hard holding clinics at different hospitals at that time but the biggest break was when I was hired as Uniliver Medical Director so I doubling here, sa PGH and then sa corporate world. “
Dr. Leachon also shared that he was part of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for ten years, where in he managed studies and introducing medicines. For several years, he’s comfortably doing wonders in the corporate world, but in 2004, his mother died because of breast cancer. In the long run, that experienced motivated him to start his advocacy works.
“The question at that time, how can your mom died when she’s actually being attended by a physician,” Leachon shared. “So I thought dapat empowered ang mga Filipinos regarding their health so I thought of inserting that into the curriculum. Through the help of Philippine College of Physicians and other health advocates I was able to write an executive order (595 – Health Education Reform Order or H.E.R.O.) signed by Former President Gloria Macapagal –Arroyo at that time in 2007.”
In 2010, an additional notable moment that hit him. His younger sister Marita lose her life battle against liver cirrhosis or Hepatitis C. Leachon divulged that she got that because of the blood transfusion 20 years ago before she got sick. Dr. Leachon claimed that he was depressed at that time and that also one of the reasons why he bid good bye from corporate world. Then after that former Health Secretary Enrique Ona tapped him to supervise a DOH’s mission. That mission is connected to troke, heart attack, cancers, diabetes, and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or non-communicable diseases.
“Ang mind ko noon I was so busy working for other people, which is not bad, then at that time I could concentrate on so many things. But I tend to forget what really matters which are your family, your career, and your patients so I actually quit from Pfizer.”
Concentrating on Sec. Ona’s assignment for him, Leachon informed Sec. Ona that the superb step to counter non-communicable diseases is to have higher taxes bill for tobacco. The doctor said that the idea was inspired of the fact that 5 out 10 killer diseases in the Philippines are related to smoking. In December 2012, President Benigno A. Aquino, signed the sin tax bill that addresses problems in tobacco and alcohol.
The Sin tax Bill is indeed a win-win solution as marginalized segment of society is pushed away from smoking or drinking alcohol and the same time, government reaps additional revenues. In fact, DOH will earn 500 billion pesos for the next ten years according to Leachon. Nowadays, he’s into a campaign that promote eating healthy food and following mandatory calorie counter and food labeling.
“The thing that is most important for me is teaching… The second nature of a doctor, aside from healing is actually teaching,” the experienced physician explained. “Doctors are heroes actually because they’re able to save lives. I don’t think there’s any profession that has so much blessing from the Lord that you can be able to earn as well as save a lot of people or help a lot of patients. But the biggest thing that really ever happened to me is to become preventive health advocate. I didn’t realize that I have that particular talent of advocating and influencing people.”
To experience beautiful and healthy body, the internal medicine-cardiology doctor suggest the following:
- Stop smoking. This is the single most important factor in improving the quality of your health.
- Avoid high fat diet
- Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes.
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Stop alcohol drinking
- Reduce stress by relaxation, exercise, meditation, and talking to your family or friends about your problems, etc.
- Take medications regularly
- Regular visits to the doctor
- Sleep for at least 8 hours a day
- Be happy