President Rodrigo Duterte has already signed the Executive Order # 26 on Smoking Ban in the Philippines, which was confirmed to us by Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial saying, “Yes, it is confirmed that the President signed the EO on smoking ban last May 16 but we just got the copy only today May 18.” According to her, The EO is patterned to Davao City, which was implemented when he was the city’s mayor.
The President mentioned the Executive Order many times as early as May 2016 and repeated the same campaign vow in September 2016. HealthJustice Philippines, a think tank and advocacy group with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion hopes that the EO will be strictly implemented. “The draft executive order has been ready for the President’s signature since October last year and now that it is officially signed by the President, all the Filipinos has the right to health, and can breathe clean air because smoking is not only affecting active smokers but also the people who are exposed to second-hand smoke.” said Mary Ann Mendoza, President of HealthJustice Philippines.
The Executive Order will prohibit smoking in public places. Designated smoking areas have strict implementation requirements for establishing indoor and outdoor smoking areas in which an open space or a separate area is allowed. Meanwhile, smoking is not allowed in schools, hostels, recreational facilities for minors, elevators and stairwells, locations in which fire hazards are present, within the public and private hospitals, clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dental clinics and laboratories. The Executive Order takes effect 60 days after publication but Local Government units has their call to draft and issue ordinance to enforce the smoking ban and set penalties.
“The public needs to know that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke and it is important to protect the health of all the Filipinos by also requiring all indoors to be 100% smoke-free.” Mary Ann Mendoza said.
Last February 2017, nation’s capital in the leadership of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has implemented the city ordinance prohibiting smoking in all public places in Metro Manila, under the city ordinance No. 7748, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas like hospitals, schools, public places like malls and buildings in Metro Manila.
San Juan city has also an ordinance known as “The Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of San Juan City.
“If all the local government units will impose such ordinance and strictly implement it after the signage of the EO today, we will soon breathe clean air in the whole Philippines and surely all Filipinos will be discouraged of smoking and will help the whole Philippines be 100% smoke-free country”. Mary Ann Mendoza added.