DepEd to launch website to help in nationwide smoking ban
To boost the government’s nationwide smoking ban, the Department of Education (DepEd) recently launched an online program that would make it easier for teachers and students to report on individuals and establishments that would continue to violate the Executive Order No. 26, especially near schools.
Dubbed “Eskwela Ban sa Sigarilyo,” the program aims to raise the public’s awareness on DepEd Order No. 48, which was issued last year, setting forth the agency’s comprehensive tobacco control policy.
The DepEd initiative, in partnership with the Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK) Action Fund, also supports Executive Order No. 26, or the nationwide smoking ban in public places, through its website www.tobaccofreedeped.org, where the public can report erring individuals and establishments.
According to Ella Cecilia Naliponguit, DepEd-TFK assistant project director, a website will help public determine exactly if an establishment is within the 100-meter radius where it is prohibited by law to sell or advertise tobacco products.
With this information, the public can then report on an individual or a business by filling out the form on the website and providing photos as evidence.
Naliponguit said that it would be the responsibility of barangay and city or town officials to penalize erring establishments, down to sari-sari stores, by canceling their business permits.
Education Undersecretary Alberto Muyot, DepEd-TFK project director, said local government officials could face administrative charges should they fail to act on reports sent to them.
He said school principals could also be charged for neglect of duty if they too fail to report on ambulant vendors and businesses that sell tobacco products within a school perimeter.
According to Naliponguit, DepEd’s aggressive stance against smoking was due to the rising number of teen smokers in the country.
Citing the 2015 Global Youth Tobacco Survey of the Department of Health, Naliponguit noted that over the last four years there had been an increase in the number of smokers from 13 to 15 years old. From 13.7 percent in 2011, the figure went up to 16 percent in 2015. /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.