By Chito Chavez
With the abundance of merriment and parties this yuletide season, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminded the local government units (LGUs) to strictly enforce the smoking ban in government offices, schools, hospitals and other public and enclosed places.
DILG Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Catalino S. Cuy asked the local chief executives (LCEs) to ensure the implementation of Executive Order (E0) 26 which provides the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places.
“While Christmas parties and get-togethers have been part of our yuletide celebrations, we do not want the party-goers to suffocate or develop lung diseases from inhaling cigarette or tobacco smoke while enjoying the party or while travelling to or from the Christmas events using public transportations,” Cuy said.
On May 16, 2017, President Duterte issued EO 26 in fulfillment of his campaign promise to implement a nationwide smoking ban the same way he did in Davao City when he was still mayor.
EO 26 provides stricter policies and measures in smoking within public places and public conveyances, distribution or purchase of tobacco products, and advertisements and promotional materials of tobacco products.
No-smoking in school premises
Cuy also directed the LGUs to deploy personnel from their local Smoke-free Task Force to school premises where Christmas parties and get-togethers are being held.
Noting on the reports received, Cuy said that many students have easy access to tobacco products because stores and cigarette vendors (takatak boys) are peddling said products near school establishments.
Cuy also reminded the LGUs to ensure that their City/Municipal Health Officers actively develop, promote, and implement Local Smoking Cessation Programs in their respective areas.
“EO 26 must be complied with. This is not just a suggestion or recommendation. There are corresponding penalties to the violators, so we are urging all to abide with the law,” he added.
The following acts are declared unlawful and prohibited under EO 26:
- Smoking within enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, except in fully-compliant designated smoking areas (DSAs);
- Allowing, abetting, or tolerating of smoking in prohibited places by persons-in-charge;
- Selling, distributing, or purchasing tobacco products to and from minors;
- Smoking, selling, or buying cigarettes and other tobacco products;
- Ordering, instructing, or compelling a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise, or promote tobacco products;
- Selling or distributing tobacco products in school, public playground, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors, including those facilities frequented by minors, or within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of these places;
- Placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products;
- Placing tobacco advertisements outside the premises of point-of-sale retail establishments; and
- Placing any stall, booth, and other displays concerning tobacco promotions to areas outside the premises of point-of-sale or adult only facilities.