Duterte says he's being 'careful' about smoking ban order

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2017 07:18 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. Reuters

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday admitted being careful about his plan to impose smoking ban around the country. 

Speaking to reporters in Malacañang, Duterte said he is studying the executive order on the nationwide smoking ban, admitting that the situation in Davao City, where the smoking ban has been in place, is different from the rest of the country.

“Davao is different from the rest of Philippines. So I have to be very careful in trying to navigate the way how I can present it to the public. For example, I’d need the pronouncements, not really the opinion, the pronouncements of our medical sector," he said.

But Duterte said he will sign an Executive Order (EO) on the nationwide smoking ban this week.

"I am supposed to sign it this week, as submitted by Secretary Ubial. She wants to hurry the measure," he said.

Duterte admitted he was still undecided on some provisions, like indoor smoking.

"I’m measuring the resistance, whether I can compromise, for example, [on] smoking areas inside building," he said.

In January, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said Duterte had asked her to draft the executive order similar to what the city had been implementing on "100% smoke-free environment in public places."

"The executive order will actually mandate all the agencies of government, including the local government to implement this 100% smoking ban in all public places. It's not just Metro Manila," she said.

“There will be no smoking in public places anymore, whether indoor or outdoor. Parks, bus stations, and even in vehicles. All these are considered public places,” Ubial was quoted as saying.

"It's an order to the executive branch. It's up to the local government units also to draft their, shall we call, ordinances to implement this executive order. It's different from a law," she added.

The EO, Ubial said, is a clear signal to the members of the branch to implement systems and information drives to work together to be able to prevent children, the poor, and the public from smoking in public places.