MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Medical Association (PMA), an organization that supports the "Smoke Free Philippines" campaign, criticized Superstar Nora Aunor for posing for a magazine while holding a cigarette.
Running priest advocate Father Robert Reyes, a PMA volunteer, said Aunor's photo on the cover of Yes! magazine conveys a bad image of artists.
"The Filipino reading public is not dumb...If you want to be popular again, be wholesome. Gusto niyo ba gayahin ka namin? Ang trabaho niyo is to inspire us, not to scandalize us," Reyes said.
"Nora, you are ill-advised. You think you are moving forward, it's a step backwards," he added.
Yes! editor-in-chief Joan Maglipon stood by the photo, saying that it "best captures the iconic star as she is today."
"She speaks out now, against perceived hurts, about her sexuality, about her children. She also smokes. This new openness is her chosen expression of who she is today, and that is the reason I chose that photograph. It captures her," Maglipon said in a statement.
"In a perfect world, we will not have anyone smoking or drinking or gambling or lying. Not just in magazines, but out there in the real world...But apart from being in an imperfect world, there is the very real concern with freedom of expression, which not even the most well-meaning advocates should trample on."
Maglipon made it clear, however, that the magazine supports the "Smoke Free Philippines" campaign.
"Yes! would also like to note that its cover does not in any way flout the no smoking campaign. I am all for that advocacy! I would not wish smoking on myself or any of the people I care for. It's deadly," she said.
The Quezon City chapter of the PMA has maintained that it does not condemn or judge smokers.
Chapter head Dr. Rializa Henson said they understand that smoking is a form of addiction which can be treated by going through rehabilitation.
Ricketts wants public apology
Meanwhile, Optical Media Board chairman Ronnie Ricketts asked The Philippine Star to issue a public apology after the local newspaper reported that he was nearly arrested in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya for smoking.
Ricketts stressed that no such thing happened because he supports the no smoking campaign in the country.
He then urged all artists, including Aunor, to support the "Smoke Free Philippines" campaign by joining their walkathon events in Bicol and other provinces. – Report from Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News