By Yas Ocampo
President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Health, and stakeholders including smokers may have reached a compromise in the midst of a 100% smoke-free executive order awaiting the signature of the head of state.
DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial, in an interview at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, said that the EO would not likely look exactly like the local version pioneered by the landmark Davao City ordinance he wants to emulate.
Ubial added that the EO was already on the President’s desk and could be signed as early as this week.
“I was in Malacañang yesterday and the EO is awaiting the President’s signature,” Ubial said.
According to the official, various versions of the executive order had to be made in deference to existing policies regulating smoking.
The country already has Republic Act 9211, which governs smoking.
President Duterte had wanted to emulate Davao City’s version, which prohibits indoor smoking and requires smoking areas 10 meters away from building entrances, among other strict measures.
Roadsides and parks, for example, are areas where smokers may not puff away.
“Nagkaroon lang po ng exchanges of the draft, kasi nga may marching orders si President na itulad sa ordinance ng Davao,” Ubial said.
“But the legal team of the President also reviewed that cannot be applied nationwide kasi may other laws and other provisions that we have to review in terms of implementation.”
“Nagpasahan po kami ng documents na until such time na mafinalize na po and its for signature na po,” she said.
The DOH, for its part, would be tasked to draft the IRR for the possible EO.
However, Ubial did not reveal which part of the Davao ordinance would not be applicable to President Duterte’s EO.