• ‘No grace period’ for smoking ban

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    Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Monday said there will be “no grace period”  for the implementation of the nationwide smoking ban.

    In a news conference in Malacañang, Ubial advised public establishments and vehicles to be ready to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 26 setting a smoking ban by Saturday, July 22.

    EO 26 sets strict guidelines on designated smoking areas (DSAs) and bans smoking altogether in schools and recreational facilities for minors.

    “It’s July 22 and it will be implementable because it is an Executive Order… 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,” Ubial told reporters.

    “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,” she said.

    Ubial suggested that establishments just put up DSAs outdoors since indoor ones, with their many requirements, are much harder to put up.

    “We’re advising establishments to actually, hopefully, just establish outdoor designated smoking areas because it’s easier to comply with that,” she said.

    Ubial added that local government units (LGUs) will take the lead in monitoring compliance with the EO.

    She said they are required to form task forces that will check if public establishments and public vehicles all have DSAs.

    “The local government units are actually the ones to implement the Executive Order. So they will be the ones to ensure that all public places have a designated smoking area,” according to the Health secretary.

    “We know that there might be some LGUs that will not comply with this but we are working doubly hard for the DILG and the LGUs to eventually put this in full force,” she said, referring to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

    Ubial added that those who observe violations of the EO should report to LGUs who have jurisdiction over the establishment involved.

    She said individual violators will be fined P500 to P10,000, depending on their number of offenses.

    Owners of establishments caught violating the EO will face a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, Ubial added.

    “We will leave that up to jurisprudence if they will file cases against the violators but it will be implemented on July 22. It’s effective on July 22, there is no grace period,” she said.

    CV/CC

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