A nation-wide smoking ban is to be implemented in the country sometime this month through an Executive Order (EO) drafted by the Department of Health.
Pauline Jean Ubial, Secretary of the Department of Health, shared that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the executive order probably within October, and it will effectively prohibit smoking throughout the country.
Ubial disclosed that the executive order is essentially a replica of the smoking ban in Davao that was previously implemented by President Duterte when he was just Davao Mayor, but in a larger scale.
In an interview with Manila Bulletin, the Health Secretary shared that nobody will be allowed to smoke in public places anymore, whether indoor, or outdoor. Parks, bus stations and vehicles are all considered public places and smoking will be prohibited within them.
The Health Secretary further shared that they are looking into the amendment of Republic Act 9211, or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003. She said that they are going to push Congress to amend the said law in order to address the contentious tobacco control regulations and gray areas.
She also shared that among the gray areas in the currently implemented tobacco regulation law are the point-of-sale advertisement and the assignment of smoking areas.
The EO is in line with President Duterte’s policies even when he was still Mayor of Davao.
President Rodrigo Duterte was previously reported to have a strict implementation of the anti-smoking prohibition in Davao when he was just Mayor.
In fact, one of his avid supporters, former North Cotabato Governor and journalist Manny Piñol, previously shared how the mayor reprimanded a Filipino tourist for violating Davao’s anti-smoking ban.
In a September 2015 Facebook that previously went viral but has since been deleted, Piñol shared that Duterte made a Filipino tourist eat the butt of his cigarette.
Peter T. Laviña, then Duterte’s spokesperson clarified that the incident happened a long time ago. He said that Duterte, then Mayor of Davao, heard about a customer in a restaurant who refused to put off his cigarette even when the restaurant owner already informed him of the smoking ban.
Laviña confirmed that Duterte indeed made the Filipino tourist eat the butt of his cigarette for being rude, and for transgressing the ban on smoking.