Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who projects a tough-talking personality and is infamous for his off-the-cuff remarks, has signed an executive order banning smoking in public across the country. The order, which will take effect in mid-July, also imposes hefty fine including jail term for anyone caught advertising and promoting tobacco products.
According to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, “The ban, which carries a maximum penalty of four months in jail and a fine of 5,000 pesos ($100), covers both indoor and outdoor smoking.” Besides this, advertisements, promotions or sponsorships of tobacco products will subject to fines of up to 400,000 pesos and maximum jail terms of three years.
The use of cigarettes, both electronic and common, will only be allowed in “designated smoking areas” (DSAs). Anyone under the age of 18 will be prohibited from entering such areas.
Smoking was previously banned only in public spaces such as schools, universities, health clinics and government offices, and this executive order brings indoor offices, workplaces, bars, restaurants and cafes under the purview of banned spaces.
Just a few days back, on Monday, a committee of the Philippine parliament rejected an impeachment complaint against President Duterte citing the lack of substance. The complaint alleged that Duterte had adopted a state policy of extrajudicial killings during his war on drugs, which caused the death of more than 8,000 people in the first eight months of his presidency. During his campaign against drugs, he infamously said, “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
The hardline leader also warned President Donald Trump not to play into the hands of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He has also described Barack Obama as a “son of a whore” when it was suggested the then US president might impose sanctions on Philippines over human rights issues.