SWP smoke free campaign gains ground as DILG pledges support, with barangays as frontliners
SOCIALWATCH PHILS TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2020
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is fully supporting the Smoke Free is the New Normal campaign of Social Watch Philippines (SWP).
During a webinar organized and hosted by SWP, DILG Philippines Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño said his agency is committing all barangays to help in the campaign against smoking, and barangay offices can be used both for information campaign and implementing the anti-smoking laws.
He noted that there are many laws against smoking and related environmental laws that were not being strictly implemented previously.
Diño, for instance, cited Republic Act 9003 or Solid Waste Management law enacted in 2001 which contains provisions intended to improve the quality of air and prohibits the burning of solid waste or “pagsisiga.”
“[But] many Local Government Officials (LGUs), from governors to mayors and down to barangay chairpersons are not implementing the law that prohibit this practice,” Diño said, adding that recently “stricter policies against smoking were passed and being implemented.”
According to the DILG official, after 19 years since this law [RA 9003] was enacted, it is only under this administration that violators are being apprehended, and LGU officials [faces accountability] if they do not implement the law.
Diño said that even Republic Act 8749, the law that prohibits smoking in public places were never taken seriously, saying that “[President Duterte’s issuance of] Executive Order 26 [aims] to further strengthen the implementation aspect of this law.
He said that barangay officials who will not implement the anti-smoking law will now be charged with dereliction of duty.
“We are also considering expanding EO 26, to ban the designation of smoking areas in public places,” the official also said.
“Our barangay officials are now also at the forefront in the implementation of wearing face masks and social distancing in public,” the DILG official said.
Diño also said that barangay officials are now also attending seminars on prohibited practices and what are those allowed by the DENR, to enable them to identify companies in their respective areas that violate the clean air act or related environmental laws.
“If we can really prevent illegal smoking and smoke belching, and the illegal disposal of waste, we could have a better environment which will improve the health of our children and other vulnerable citizens,” he concluded. ###
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