DOH warns of sanctions as smoking ban to take effect on July 22
The Department of Health warned on Monday sanctions would be imposed against violators of the smoking ban, which will take effect on July 22.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said there will be no more extension for the implementation of Executive Order No. 26, which bans smoking in public and enclosed places nationwide.
"It's effective on July 22, there is no grace period," she said.
She admitted that some establishments might find it difficult to comply with the EO, particularly if they will put up an indoor designated smoking area.
"So we're advising establishments to actually, hopefully, just establish outdoor designated smoking areas because it's easier to comply with that. We are expecting that there might be some non-compliance but I hope that our people would see the light of complying with the Executive Order because there will be sanctions," Ubial stressed.
For individual violators, the fine is P500 to P10,000 depending on the number of offenses, while for the establishments, the fine is P5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, she said.
Ubial said her office is banking on the local government units and other national government agencies, such as the Philippine National Police and Metro Manila Development Authority for the implementation of the smoking ban.
"And we would like to address full compliance of all facilities in maintaining the indoor spaces and public places. So even if it’s outdoor, if it’s a public place, and public conveyances should be smoke-free," she said.
Ubial said the DOH might also engage in "shame campaign" of LGUs, which would fail to enforce the smoke ban, similar to its campaign against firecrackers to prevent injuries during the Yuletide season.
"We named the LGUs who were among the top or highest injuries in the country and it brought down the firecracker injuries and we are ready to explore that idea of really naming and shaming some of the LGUs that are not complying and also rewarding those that have fully implemented the 100-percent smoke-free environments," she said.
The EO, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed on May 16, only allowed smoking in "designated smoking area," which could be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation subject to the specific standards. Celerina Monte/DMS