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Duterte goes slow on smoking ban

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Duterte goes slow on smoking ban

07:45 AM March 08, 2017
AFP FILE PHOTO

AFP FILE PHOTO

The forthcoming executive order on a smoking ban is expected to be patterned after a similar measure in Davao City, where President Duterte had served as long time mayor, Malacañang said yesterday.

A draft of the order has been submitted to Mr. Duterte, but he said yesterday that he was still “measuring the resistance” to the proposed measure and wants more time to scrutinize it.

Mr. Duterte also said he would see whether he could compromise on certain matters, such as smoking areas inside buildings.

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“But there are a lot of dynamics there. So just give me enough time to study,” he told reporters in Malacañang.

He said he was expected to sign the measure this week.

But he also said he had to be careful in how he would present it to the public. He would need the support of medical experts, he said.

“For example, I’d need the pronouncements, not really the opinion, the pronouncements of our medical sector. And they should be also in the forefront of this because they know the benefits of totally banning smoking inside,” he said.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the proposed EO was expected to be modeled on Davao City’s anti-smoking ordinance, which prohibits smoking indoors.

But chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said provisions within the draft might not be legally feasible, such as the one saying there should be no smoking area within a building.

The Tobacco Regulation Act allows for a designated smoking area in a building, Panelo said.

“We gave an opinion that we cannot amend the law through executive order,” he said.

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What the government could do, he said, was to be very strict in the implementation of a designated area for smokers in a building, he added.

When he was Davao City mayor, Mr. Duterte had been known for his strict implementation of the anti-smoking ordinance.

He reportedly made a tourist swallow a cigarette butt after the latter questioned the ordinance’s prohibition on smoking inside public places. CBB

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