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DILG, DOH identify smoking areas under nationwide smoking ban
MANILA, Philippines — Confusion abounds over the implementation of the nationwide smoking ban, particularly on the designated smoking areas in cities.
In an interview with Daniel Razon on the program, Huntahan, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing clarified that although business establishments must have designated smoking areas, smoking in open spaces is also allowed.
The local government units, who are the principal implementer of the said law, are also the ones designating the specific smoking areas.
“Key words are: public places, designated smoking areas in enclosed areas. These are covered areas and public conveyances,” said Densing.
“I myself am confused when we say public places. Like what you’re saying, when you’re on the road you are in an open space, can you smoke? Is that right?” Razon asked.
“What is defined under the Executive Order 26 as public places, the definition is very specific. Hospital, schools, markets, whether open or close, they are considered public places. But open spaces refer to sidewalks, not covered, that’s where they are allowed to smoke,” explained Densing.
The Department of Health (DOH), on the other hand, said every city has its own ordinance against smoking that need to be adhered to.
With this, different interpretation arises on determining smoking and non-smoking areas.
“If they also include those walking, that’s not allowed even without EO 26. It depends on the ordinance,” DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said.
It can be recalled that Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial had mentioned that the DILG is responsible for the strict implementation of the Smoking Ban and that the LGU’s should have a smoke-free task force.
“I don’t have the data but that is the system that we have adopted as soon as we have reports of certain LGU’s not implementing the EO then we call the attention of DILG,” Ubial said.
The DOH once again warns the public to report to their hotline all violators of the said law. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News and Rescue
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