Capitol totally bans smoking, vaping in facilities

By John Noel E. Herrera

Smoking and vaping are now strictly prohibited in all Iloilo provincial government offices, facilities, and premises.

The ban is mandated by Memorandum Order No. 12 issued on Aug 5, 2022.

Defensor issued the order which contains guidelines on smoking and vaping prohibition in all Iloilo provincial government offices, facilities, and its premises.

The Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 17, 2009, in accordance with Provincial Ordinance Number 2019-214 entitled, “An ordinance prohibiting the use, sale, distribution and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain places, imposing penalties for violations thereof and providing fund therefore and for other purposes and other related laws, rules, and regulations” served as basis for the smoking and vaping ban.

The guidelines on the implementation of the “no smoking, vaping policy” in all the provincial offices, facilities, and its premises are:

  1. Cigarette smoking or vaping in all Iloilo provincial government offices, facilities, and its premises is strictly prohibited.
  2. Selling/distribution of cigarette/vaping component within the Iloilo provincial government offices, facilities and its premises within one hundred (100) meters radius from any point of the perimeters is strictly prohibited.
  3. Remove from the places where smoking is prohibited all ashtrays and other receptacles for disposing of cigarette refuse.
  4. Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the Iloilo provincial government vehicles.
  5. Solicitation, acceptance from any person or business related to the tobacco industry are strictly discouraged.

The memorandum order also stated that “no smoking” signages should be posted at the entrance of the area visible to the public.

All government employees who violate the memorandum order will face the following penalties:

First offense – Subject for smoking cessation and counseling

Second offense – Suspension of one month and one day to six months

Third offense – Dismissal from the service

The order also added that employees of the provincial government shall be administratively charged for violating the policy or his/her employment contract shall not be renewed in case of personnel under contract.

In December 2021, the Iloilo Provincial Government also bagged the Red Orchid Award of the Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas.

The Red Orchid Award recognizes the exemplary work of local government units (LGUs), government offices, and hospitals in their comprehensive effort to implement a 100 percent smoke-free environment using the World Health Organization (WHO) MPOWER initiative.

MPOWER measures include tobacco use monitoring and prevention policies; protecting people from the effects of smoking; offering help to quit smoking; warning about the dangers of tobacco; enforcing the ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and increasing tobacco taxes.