Smokers across Central Visayas will have to take the smoking ban seriously as police authorities in the region intend to fully implement the President’s new order beginning tomorrow (Sunday), July 23.
Police Regional Office (PRO-7) director Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino and Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) director Senior Supt. Joel Doria told reporters that the smoking ban will be strictly enforced by police in their respective jurisdictions.
Executive Order (EO) 26 which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last May 16 provides that smoking shall be strictly prohibited in all public and enclosed places nationwide.
The ban replicates, on a national level, the smoking ban in Davao City implemented by Duterte when he was mayor of that city in 2002.
The nationwide smoking ban, according to the Department of Health (DOH), the lead implementing agency of the ban as mandated by the EO, would be enforced starting on July 23.
It was supposed to take effect 60 days after May 24, when it was supposed to have been published in a newspaper of general circulation.
Mr. Duterte’s EO listed areas where smoking would be prohibited. These include schools and recreational facilities for minors, elevators and stairwells, areas with fire hazards, hospitals and clinics, kitchens and other areas for food preparation.
Establishments, like restaurants and bars, should heed the EO’s provisions to avoid being penalized, the DOH warned.
The EO said areas where smoking is allowed should be open. In case the smoking area is a room, it must have adequate ventilation and be separated from other rooms.
Individual violators will be fined P500 to P10,000 depending on the number of their offenses, while owners of establishments caught violating the EO will face a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days.
Admitting to having once been a chain smoker consuming two packs of cigarettes a day, Cebu City’s police chief said others should stop smoking now.
“Mas maganda na wag ng mag-smoke kasi para yung health natin ma-improve. Dati, chain smoker ako, but I managed to stop. Kasi inisip ko rin yung family ko, kasi pag nasa bahay ka yung secondhand smoke napupunta dun sa mga bata, so mas magandang wag nalang,” Doria, who stopped smoking since 2009, told Cebu Daily News.
(It’s better not to smoke anymore to improve our health. I used to be a chain smoker, but I managed to stop. I thought of my family because if I kept on smoking at home, the secondhand smoke will go to my kids. So it was better to just stop.)
‘Tempered with mercy’
At City Hall, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said that while the city will comply with the law, he will be merciful.
“I will follow the law, period. But I will temper it with mercy,” Osmeña said.
“I’m not a smoker anymore, but when you implement something like that … it has effects. It has very strong undesirable effects,” he said.
Despite the positive effects that the smoking ban may bring, Osmeña believes that it is bad for the economy.
“Davao’s night life is dead, no smoking,” said Osmeña on the ban’s effect on Davao City’s tourism industry.
In Cebu City, Osmeña cited the loss of 30 percent of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) revenues last year due to the
implementation of City Ordinance 2241 or the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Cebu City.
The Cebu City Council is currently drafting some amendments to the city’s anti-smoking ordinance aimed to exclude entertainment centers, bars, casinos and other private establishments from its coverage.
“One of the things I think is going too far, is in BBRC (Cebu City Jail) they’re not allowed smoking. That’s bad. Because these people are already stressed out, na samot (it will worsen) and then it creates corruption among the guards. How much do they charge for cigarette? Fifty pesos?” said Osmeña.
“Natural, they’ll do anything to get a cigarette, to smoke is a form of addiction. Why don’t we just give them a little corner there. ‘Smoke sige, smoke to death, sige.’ It is them who will get cancer, not us. This is the kind of tension that is building up, and it does not improve the process of rehabilitation,” the mayor added.
For his part, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor on police matters, and a smoker, promised to abide by the law.
“Even though I’m a smoker, but I should also follow and I am advising everyone to do the same. It is for our own good. I’m a law-abiding citizen,” Tumulak said./with Inquirer.net