Ubial: Duterte instructed me to draft EO on smoking ban
MANILA, Philippines – It was President Rodrigo Duterte himself who instructed Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial to draft the executive order (EO) on a nationwide ban on smoking in all public places.
"It was upon the instructions of the President, when I presented the health sector reform agenda or the Philippine health agenda, that he instructed me to actually draft an executive order that is patterned after what was done in Davao in terms of providing for 100% tobacco-free environment so that there is no cigarette smoking or tobacco [smoking] in public places," she said in an interview with Rappler on Tuesday, January 10.
The DOH crafted the Philippine health agenda sometime in September 2016, following Ubial's official visit to Cuba in August. (READ: What PH can learn from Cuba's health services)
Ubial said the proposed nationwide smoking ban was the first EO that the Department of Health (DOH) submitted to Malacañang. News about the draft EO first came out in October.
"So we did just that, and we submitted it to the Office of the President, and I'm really not sure why it's taking a lot of time, but I think it's been through legal review and also the complete staff work by the presidential staff," she explained.
The DOH submitted two other EOs, one of which seeks to limit the use and possession of firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices, while the other ensures zero unmet needs for family planning in the country.
The President has already signed the EO on family planning. EO 12, according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, is expected to "pressure" the Supreme Court to finally rule on the petition against contraceptive implants.
Ubial thinks "it's just a matter of time" before the President signs the EO on the nationwide smoking ban.
"I just don't know, but I think there's a number of executive orders also submitted by other Cabinet members that's for review by the Office of the President," she added.
The DOH earlier hoped the EO would be issued by the end of October, or before the full implementation of the Graphic Health Warnings Law in November.
After all, Duterte aggressively implemented a city-wide smoking ban when he was Davao City mayor. – Rappler.com