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Duterte cited for signing EO on smoking ban

An anti-smoking advocacy group yesterday cited President Duterte for signing Executive Order 26 that prohibits smoking in all public places in the country.

New Vois Association of the Philippines president Emer Rojas said they were elated that the Chief Executive finally fulfilled one of his first commitments after winning the presidency.

“Finally, we now have a government policy that will lead the country closer than ever to seeing a smoke-free Philippines. We thank President Duterte for making it happen. Truly, change has come in terms of protecting Filipinos from the threat of cigarette smoking,” said Rojas.

He said it is a welcome development, considering that the Duterte administration has been mainly focused on its anti-drug war.

“We praise the Duterte administration for its strong conviction of saving people’s lives by curtailing all forms of addiction,” said Rojas.

The measure is the Department of Health’s version of the ordinance implemented in Davao City since Duterte was mayor.

And with the EO now in place, NVAP said they are now expecting all law enforcement personnel as well as local government units to strictly enforce the smoking ban in restricted areas.

“The victims of tobacco are anticipating the full implementation of the smoke-free executive order, especially LGUs, who are tasked to impose the necessary penalties for violators,” said Rojas.

In addition, the leading anti-smoking advocacy group said they are also hoping that the public will not think twice in lending a hand in making sure that the law will be adhered to.

The DoH is forming a team to draft the implementing rules and regulations of the EO titled “Providing for the Establishment of Smoke-Free Environments in Public and Enclosed Places.”

“Gusto pong iparating ni Secretary Ubial na gagawan itong EO ng IRR bilang gabay sa magpapatupad ng EO,” DoH spokesperson Eric Tayag said. (Chito A. Chavez and Charina Charisse L. Echaluce)