15 January 2017:
Tobacco-control advocates are seeking the signing of an executive order (EO) that bans smoking in public places.
Statistics show that 10 Filipinos die every hour because of tobacco-related diseases, including lung cancer, heart ailments, diabetes, erectile dysfunction and tuberculosis.
“We really need to stop the premature death of Filipinos due to tobacco addiction. Like any other addiction, this must be reduced or totally prevented,” Emer Rojas, president of New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), said.
The NVAP appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte, who has launched a nationwide war against drugs since he assumed the presidency more than six months ago, to start addressing smoking and other forms of addiction.
“We are calling on President Duterte to finally make a stand for Filipinos against the perennial lies of the tobacco companies by signing the much-awaited EO for a smoke-free Philippines,” Rojas said.
Under the EO, the government is expected to impose a ban on smoking in all public spaces, including parks and bus stations, and inside vehicles.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said “the staff work by the Presidential Management Staff is already completed,” in a chance interview last week.
It is one of the three pending EOs with the Office of the President, the other two being those on family planning and fireworks.