Health group lauds Manila smoking ban, urges Duterte anew to sign smoke-free EO

HealthJustice Philippines, a public health think tank and advocacy group, praised the Manila local government for passing and implementing City Ordinance 7748, which bans smoking in public spaces in Manila.

“We applaud the implementation of the smoking ban in Manila. There is really no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. This public health measure will protect the health of its residents and save many lives in a country where 33 people die every hour because of preventable smoking-related diseases. We urge other cities and municipalities to do the same for their people,” said Atty. Irene Reyes of HealthJustice.

Under Manila’s smoking ban, city hall employees can arrest violators.

In June 2016, President Duterte announced his plan to enforce a nationwide smoking ban. During his guesting on the television show “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa”, he said that it is for the welfare of the Filipino people. “It is to protect public health. If you have to protect the public, you must brutal about it,” he declared.

In October 2016, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial relayed to the public that the President was set to sign the Executive Order on Smoke-Free enforcing the said nationwide smoking ban. However, it has not yet been signed to this day.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to remind President Duterte of his promise to enforce the nationwide smoking ban by signing the smoke-free Executive Order. We know that he is committed to protecting public health. Davao City, under his leadership, became a model smoke-free city recognized by the World Health Organization. Many cities across the world are trying to emulate smoke-free Davao. We expect the Philippines to be smoke-free under his watch,” Reyes added.

HealthJustice Philippines is a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control.