PNP to arrest vape users even without Duterte executive order

Rambo Talabong

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PNP to arrest vape users even without Duterte executive order
The Philippine National Police does not know whether they should also arrest vape users in designated smoking areas because they began without waiting for an 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.

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. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.