Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Wednesday said the nationwide smoking ban, as mandated by Executive Order (EO) 26, will still be enforced starting July 23 even in the absence of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
Ubial added that there is still no IRR as “it is still being vetted with other government agencies.”
She, however, said the IRR will be released as soon as possible after July 23.
“We were hoping that it will come out [in]60 days, but it did not happen since there are still many comments and consultations, so we’re hoping that it will come out soon, but we are not putting a deadline,” Ubial added.
Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag of the Department of Health (DoH) earlier said EO 26 can still be implemented even without an IRR, a requirement for new laws.
Under EO 26, smoking in public places and public conveyances such as schools, workplaces, sidewalks and public vehicles are prohibited.
The sale of tobacco to minors is also banned.
The EO also requires establishments to put up “No Smoking” signs that measure at least 8 by 11 inches (20.3 by 27.9 cm), with a “No Smoking” symbol occupying at least 60 percent of the sign.
Designated smoking areas should be open or rooms with adequate ventilation and must be separated from other rooms.
The nationwide smoking ban is patterned after the anti-smoking ordinance that President Rodrigo Duterte imposed in Davao City when he was the mayor there.
E-cigarettes or vapes are still being studied by the DoH to be included in the smoking ban based on the recommendation of the World Health Organization.