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Davide, Osmeña welcome smoke ban

CEBU, Philippines - Though he is a self-confessed cigarette smoker since third year high-school, Governor Hilario Davide III yesterday welcomed the signing of an executive order banning smoking in public places across the country.

“Wala may kaso. Para man gyud na for everybody, para man na sa pag-promote sa health sa atong mga kaigsoonan. Ang katong mga smokers mao’y maapektuhan kay dili na sila makapanigarilyo, sama nako,” Davide told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting among local chief executives in Metro Cebu yesterday in Cebu City.

It was not the first time the governor issued a statement regarding the ban.

“Ako manigarilyo man ko pero di ko magpakita sa public naa raman ko sa akong kwarto. Kadtong mga smokers like me mangita lang mi paagi asa mi manigarilyo. Sa balay nalang gyod or somewhere nga way makakita,” he said in an interview October last year.

The governor said it would take a lot of adjustments for smokers like him, adding that he and wife Jobel had tried many times to quit smoking, which they found so hard.

To strengthen the implementation of the executive order signed by President Duterte, Provincial Health Office head Dr. Rene Catan has asked the Provincial Board to pass an ordinance supporting the EO.

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Catan said his office has not received a specific program yet from the Department Health regarding the order.

“We will ask for an ordinance to support the executive order para mahimo na siya og ma-institutionalize dinhi sa province” Catan said.

He said the law must also consider the smokers as they also have “the right to smoke.”

However, he also urged smokers to respect non-smokers and ensure their habit won’t cause harm to others, considering that even those who do not smoke or passive smokers might get sick if they get in close contact with those who smoke.

Catan reminded the public that smoking can cause hypertension, heart diseases and lung cancer.

The Cebu City Police Office, meanwhile, encouraged businesses to demand identification cards from customers who may look underage in line with the implementation of the smoking ban.

 “Actually, ang dapat higpitan natin diyan ay yung nagbebenta -- bakit sila nakapagbenta, bakit sila nakabili, bakit binentahan?” CCPO Director Senior Superintendent Joel Doria said.

He said minors who will be apprehended will be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development in accordance with the law.

Doria likewise said the ban will have to undergo review first in order for them to identify the parameters in which smoking will be prohibited.

For his part, Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Senior Superintendent Eric Noble said they are just awaiting orders from higher police officials as to the details of the ban’s enforcement.

“Wala pa kaming na-receive na directive so far about the implementation of the law. We will just wait for the guidance of higher headquarters so we can start implementing it. Right now, there is a need for the issuance of an IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) for the details on how to implement the new law,” said Noble.

At the Cebu City Hall, Mayor Tomas Osmeña expressed support to the policy, hoping that it will be properly implemented.

“Management (should be) taken into consideration… Don’t make a law that you cannot enforce because no one will believe you anymore,” Osmeña said.

Executive Order No. 26 stipulates that the smokers are not allowed to smoke inside the premises of the schools, youth hostels, elevators, stairwells, gas stations, hospitals, health centers and among others.

There will be designated areas for smoking, which must be located 10 meters from entrances, exits or any place where people used to pass and the buffer zone should not be larger than 20 percent of the total floor area of the building but should not be smaller than 10 square meters. — Le Phyllis F. Antojado, Mae Clydyl L. Avila. Ermida Q. Moradas, and Odessa O. Leyson (FREEMAN)

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