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DoH wants citizen’s watch against smoking ban violators

Ordinary citizens are encouraged to police violators of President Duterte’s nationwide smoking ban order.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, at a Palace briefing yesterday, said that the public must call the attention of anybody caught smoking cigarettes on public or immediately report them to concerned local government units.
Local authorities were also motivated to replicate the employment of so-called “environmental police” in Davao City which are tasked to monitor the strict implementation of the smoking ban.
President Duterte’s Executive Order 26 which is set to be fully implemented on a national scale starting July 22 is a rip off of the Davao City ordinance outlawing smoking in public spaces strictly.
“In some areas where we have local ordinances implementing 100 percent smoke-free enclosed places, they actually designated task force members,” Ubial said.
“Like in Davao, there is a smoke-free task force. So these are specially hired individuals that really go around and monitor the implementation of the ordinance,” she added.
Nonetheless, the Health secretary surmised that it will be difficult for authorities to monitor the compliance of certain establishments.
She emphasized that smoking indoors or allotting smoking areas inside buildings are illegal as far as the smoking ban is concerned.
“We would like to address full compliance of all facilities in maintaining the indoor spaces and public places. So even if it’s outdoor, if it’s a public place, and public conveyances should be smoke-free,” Ubial said.
“Well, the problem is it’s very difficult to comply with the executive order, particularly if an establishment will put up an indoor designated smoking area,” she added.
“So we’re advising establishments to actually, hopefully, just establish outdoor designated smoking areas because it’s easier to comply with that.”
Meanwhile, despite the government’s efforts to regulate tobacco use, Ubial said that they are not in the position to totally ban the industry in the country.
“We are not eyeing a total ban of tobacco in this country, because we are known as a tobacco-producing country,” Ubial said, adding that “many sectors will be affected.”

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