President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) that bans smoking in all public places, including public conveyances, throughout the Philippines.
The President signed EO NO. 26 on May 16 but was only released to media Thursday.
As provided under EO 26, smoking is banned altogether in schools, including universities, and recreational facilities for minors throughout the country and sets strict guidelines on designated smoking areas (DSAs).
Areas where smoking is not allowed includes centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors. Also included are elevators and stairwells, locations where fire hazards are present, premises of public and private hospitals, medical, dental, optical clinics and food preparation areas. No designated smoking areas are allowed to be put up in these areas.
Meanwhile, DSAs are defined in the EO as an “an area of a building or conveyance where smoking may be allowed, which may be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation.”
The EO also specifies that a “non-smoking buffer zone” be established for DSAs not located in open spaces. The buffer zone must be between the door of the DSA and the rest of the building. There should be no part of the buffer zone that will allow air to escape to the smoke-free area except for a “single door with an automatic door closer.”
To further achieve the government’s policy to guarantee the right of every citizen to breathe clean air, the EO stipulates that a building or conveyance can only have one DSA.
Minors are strictly prohibited from entering the DSA or its buffer zone.
Incidentally, EO 26 was signed on the occasion of the World Non Tobacco Day that will be celebrated on May 31.
Even before he became president, Duterte had been an advocate to banning smoking in public spaces. He first instituted the ban in Davao City when he was the mayor, a position he held for years prior to running for the Presidency. (PNA /CMR)