Smoking Now Prohibited in Philippines’ Public Places

Now that the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, already used his executive power to ban smoking in all public places nationwide, expect that smoking in public places will be strictly prohibited from now on.

Yesterday, May 18, 2017, the Office of the Executive Secretary confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has eventually signed an executive order banning smoking in public places nationwide.

According news reports, President Duterte signed the Executive Order (EO) No. 26 on May 16 in aim to establish a smoke-free environment in either public or enclosed places across the country.

The said order will take effect 60 days following its publication in general circulation newspapers.

Once the new order takes effect, smoking will be prohibited except in designated smoking areas that observe the guidelines prescribed by law.

Be noted that smoking even in enclosed areas in certain public places such as schools, elevators and staircases, fire hazard areas, medical facilities, food preparation area, jeepneys, buses, tricycles and other similar vehicles, will likewise be prohibited.

“Public places means all places, fixed or mobile, that are accessible or open to the public or places for collective use, regardless of ownership or right to access, including but not limited to schools, workplaces, government facilities, establishments that provide food and drinks, accommodation, merchandise, professional services, entertainment or other services. It also includes outdoor spaces where facilities are available for public or where a crowd of people would gather, such as, but not limited to, playgrounds, sports grounds or centers, church grounds, health/hospital compounds, transportation terminals, markets, resorts, walkways/sidewalks, entrance ways, waiting areas and the like,”

EO 26

The order also supports the Republic Act (RA) No. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, which illegalizes the sale and purchase of cigarettes and other tobacco products to and by minors and in even in certain places visited by minors.

Following the said order, all cities and municipalities all over the country will be instructed to form a local Smoke-Free Task Force to help enforce the provisions of the EO26 as well as to crack down violators.

The order cited penalties, as mandated by RA 9211, which demand a fine of P500.00 to P10,000.00 for offenders.

Be further noted that those who will get caught providing cigarettes or other tobacco products to minors may face P5,000.00 penalty, imprisonment of up to 30 days, and / or revocation of business permit or license.

It could be remembered that back in March, President Duterte pledged to implement a smoking ban nationwide. It was after he shared details of his health woes from his years of smoking. He previously claimed that he was using an oxygen machine to help him sleep calmly.

Aizelle Joe