by Charina Clarisse L. Echaluce and Chito A. Chavez
An avid anti-smoking group yesterday urged President Duterte to sign the Executive Order (EO) on the nationwide smoking ban as soon as possible, or run the risk of exposing more Filipinos to smoking-related illnesses.
“The clock is ticking and we cannot afford to sit back and wait as new cancer cases are expected to occur in the Philippines if we don’t act now,” said New Vois Association of the Philippines president Emer Rojas.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial yesterday said she expects Duterte to sign the EO ‘within the week.’
Ubial said Palace officials told her that the EO is already in the final stage of review prior to being signed by the President.
Ubial said the EO would likely be signed after the removal of some of the issues deemed as not being in accordance with the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9211).
“The instruction of the President was to make it conform to the Davao ordinance. So we complied with that. But the legal team was saying that such may pose some problems due to RA9211,” said Ubial.
“The one being implemented in Davao City prohibits indoor smoking areas but RA9211 still provides for that,” she said.
Recent studies conducted in the Philippines showed a steady increase in the number of cancer patients.
Smoking is a known factor that causes cancer as tobacco products contain 70 cancer-causing chemicals.