Three days after the implementation of the nationwide smoking ban, violations against the law in parts of Bohol would still only entail a slap on the wrist—at least for the meantime.
“It’s considered a policy because it’s signed by the President. So we are obliged to implement, although it will be gradual,” said Bohol League of Municipalities Philippines (LMP) president Clarin Mayor Allen Ray Piezas.
According to Piezas, an information drive will still have to be carried out before penalties are meted out and the policy is fully enforced by local government units across the province.
Designated smoking areas will be established and signs such as tarpaulins on the prohibition will be put up in conspicuous areas as the public is made fully aware of the EO.
“In the ground, it has not really been spread yet to the people,” said Piezas in Cebuano and English.
The mayor noted that the ban which was mandated through Executive Order 26 will be gradually implemented through warnings and information dissemination.
“Maybe not yet really a harsh implementation—we can give a warning, but on the second we will have to do something about it,” he said.
In August, the LMP is expected to tackle the issue on the EO’s full enforcement.
The new anti-smoking policy will be among top agenda in the next assembly of Bohol mayors, said Piezas.
LGUs have been tasked to take the lead in the policy’s imposition.
So far, the Bohol Provincial Police Office has reported that there have been no arrests against violators of the EO yet, based on information relayed by police stations in the province.
The EO was signed by Pres. Duterte in May, and it took effect two months after on July 23.
The order stipulated that smoking is prohibited in public and private transportation utilities, schools and food establishments including waiting sheds, streets and walkways.
Under the EO, persons caught smoking in public areas will face fines ranging between P500 and P10,000.
Sale of cigarettes near schools and other areas frequented by children is also prohibited as indicated in the order. (Rey Tutas)