MANILA — The Philippine National Police said Wednesday it would apprehend foreign athletes and visitors in the Southeast Asian Games should they violate a ban on the use of vaping devices or e-cigarettes in public.
President Rodrigo Duterte last week verbally ordered the arrest of those vaping in public, after the health department reported that a 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas suffered lung injury due to e-cigarettes.
"When people — even if you're a foreigner — are in the country, we have jurisdiction over them... Puwedeng mapanagot ang kahit sinong dayuhan na nasa Pilipinas (any foreigner in the Philippinescan be held accoutable) once they violate our regulation," said PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa.
Duterte's vaping ban is anchored on the Tobacco Regulatory Act and the Clean Air Act, which both "can cause the arrest of any violator," Gamboa told radio DZMM.
The PNP has arrested 243 violators of the vaping ban as of last Monday. They were released after their e-cigarettes were confiscated, said PNP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac.
Authorities are "ready for any eventuality" in the SEA Games despite the lack of security threats, added Gamboa.
Organizers earlier drew flak for troubles in the transportation and lodging of SEA Games athletes, inadequate food served to them, and unfinished game venues.
This marks the Philippines' fourth hosting of the biennial regional event that opens Saturday.
For more stories on the SEA Games, visit this page: https://news.abs-cbn.com/seagames2019.