SMOKE-FREE ZONE. Executive Order no. 26 prohibits smoking in public places, and establishments. Photo by Paul Sugano
As per the Executive Order 26, or the nationwide ban on public smoking, the Department of Health (DOH) announced a no-smoking policy on campuses starting July 23. To comply with this, the Colegio is now stricter with its already existing rule of prohibiting students and faculty members from smoking within 50 meters near the school premises.
According to Office of the Student Welfare and Development (OSWD) Student Welfare Coordinator Jillian Nathalie Garcia, sanctions will be given to offenders and it applies to students, professors, employees, and even outsiders.
OSWD Student Development Coordinator Joseph Aldrin Bilason said that this new policy can contribute many good factors. “Para sa akin, personally, malaking tulong ‘yung pagpapatupad ng policy. One factor doon ay ‘yung sa environment, para ma-lessen ‘yung pagtatapon natin ng cigarette butt, second factor is for health,” said Bilason. “Makakatulong siya kasi hindi ka makakapagyosi kahit saan-saan eh, may manghuhuli [na] sa’yo.”
During the student congresses of the different colleges in the Colegio, OSWD informed a lot of students about the said ban.
Fourth year Journalism student, Angelica Pauline Sta. Ana said that students should strictly follow this executive order because this will reflect the discipline they have as Letranites. “It’s a law, so we are supposed to follow it and we have to do our part as citizen,” she said.
For third year AB Communication student, Michellin Santos, signing the mentioned executive order is a very good move. However, the implementation’s success still lies to those who smoke on a regular basis. “It is not within my expectations that the order be rigidly enforced and air pollution rate would completely be diminished dahil na rin sa mga law enforcers natin hindi mo naman talaga totally maaasahan,” said Santos.
“I guess the regulation must initiate within the smokers themselves that they would be sensitive enough to provide a proper venue for their personal habits,” Santos added.
In the Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Control Law which was passed in 2003, the Civil Service Commission has issued (CSC) Memorandum No. 17 requiring city officials to prohibit selling of tobacco products within 50-meter radius of schools in Manila and student shouldn’t smoke within the parameter. Cigarette packs and lighter were confiscated by the guards from the entrance of the Colegio’s gates.
Smoking is also banned in public and private transportation services as well. Colleges, universities, hospitals, restaurant, and locations in which fire hazards are present are also asked to follow the newly-signed executive order, these areas shall now be known as non-smoking buffer zones.