PNP to arrest vape users even without Duterte executive order
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has begun its crackdown on vape use effective Wednesday, November 20, even without an executive order from President Rodrigo Duterte clearly outlining the grounds for making the arrests.
"PNP officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa has directed, effective today, all police units nationwide to enforce the ban on use of vapes; ensure that all violators will be arrested and properly recorded in the police blotters; confiscated items are accounted for and disposed of properly; and coordinate with local government units and agencies, vape stores and owners to enhance the enforcement of the ban," the PNP said in a statement sent to police reporters.
The PNP's sweeping reaction stemmed from President Rodrigo Duterte verbally ordering them on Tuesday night to arrest people who used vape, also known as electronic cigarettes. This is the latest case of the PNP eagerly enforcing a high-stakes campaign even with just the President's vague and emotionally charged words as basis.
"I'm now ordering all law enforcement agencies to arrest everybody vaping in public, that like smoking...you contaminate people," the President said in his briefing.
LOOK: PNP's internal order to arrest vape users cites President Duterte's verbal order and EO 26, which does not explicitly include a vaping ban, as basis for arrests. Sourced photo @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/stejL8PihR— Rambo Talabong (@ramboreports) November 20, 2019
It is unclear, however, whether the PNP will also arrest vape users who get their nicotine fix in allotted smoking areas. This much was confirmed to Rappler in a phone interview with police spokesman Brigadier General Bernard Banac.
"Hindi pa natin na-clarify. Basta public spaces I think yung mga smoking areas...Hindi clear kung kasama," Banac said. (We haven't clarified that. Now it's public spaces. It's not clear if they are included.)
According to Banac, the PNP is expecting Malacañang to release the executive order "within today" on Wednesday.
Until then, Banac told reporters in a text message that their basis so far is Duterte's s Executive Order No. 26, which banned smoking in public spaces. EO 26, however, does not explicitly include e-cigarettes. The Department of Health sought to expand the order to include vaping through its Administrative Order (AO) No. 2019-0007 issued in June, but its implementation is currently suspended by a Pasig Regional Trial Court since October. – Rappler.com