By Genalyn Kabiling
A tough smoking ban in all public places will soon be enforced across the Philippines to promote public health.
President Duterte announced on Wednesday (March 29) about the upcoming anti-smoking regulation after admitting enduring low oxygen level arising from his old cigarette habit.
“In the coming months we will be implementing a no smoking law in the Philippines,” the President said during his visit to Oriental Mindoro. “You can only smoke if you are in the open sea at least five kilometers from coastal shores. Doon kayo mag-hithit,” he said.
Duterte, who has quit smoking, candidly confessed that he uses an oxygen concentrator to help with his breathing when sleeping.
“Pinost dyan yung oxygen ko kasi kung matulog ako, ganun lang,” he said, referring to his photograph showing an oxygen unit beside his bed. “‘Yung oxygenation ko hindi maganda because of smoking,” he added.
The President’s oxygen unit was spotted in the photos of Duterte being given a birthday surprise by his daughter Kitty and seven other grandchildren in Davao home last Tuesday. The photos were shared online by Duterte’s son-in-law Mans Carpio.
At 72, the President revealed that apart from kicking the tobacco habit, he can no longer eat everything he wants and drink liquor.
Early this month, the President said he asked time to study the executive order on the smoking ban drafted by the Department of Health. The smoke-free order aims to bring down the number of people with smoking-related illnesses.
Duterte said he would still get the view of the medical sector on the proposed smoking ban. “They should be also in the forefront of this because they know the benefits of totally banning smoking inside,” he said.
The health department earlier proposed a draft EO on the public smoking ban, that is pattered after Duterte’s ordinance in Davao that banned smoking in public places. It aims to authorize all government agencies and local government units to prohibit smoking in all public places.