Dr. Anthony “Tony” C. Leachon: Sin Tax Bill Advocate, Promotor of Preventive Health


By: Mj Gonzales via GetHealthAccess.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.

Dr. Anthony Leachon (2)“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 🙂