MANILA -- Local government units (LGUs) should ensure the support and compliance of company and school heads to the nationwide smoking ban or they would be held liable and face corresponding sanctions.

In a directive, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said local chief executives should inform "persons-in-charge" of their role in the implementation of Executive Order No. 26.

EO 26, which took effect last month, mandates the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places.

A "person-in-charge", as defined under EO 26,  may be a "company, corporation, partnership or association's president/manager; owner/proprietor/operator of a single proprietorship; or the administrator of a government or private property, facility, office or building; and the city/municipal schools superintendent, school president, dean or principal in case of a school."

The EO has outlined the duties of the “person-in-charge” which include the following:

  • Prominently post and display the “No Smoking” signage in locations most visible to the public in the areas where smoking is prohibited as well as in the most conspicuous location within a public conveyance;
  • Prominently display the “Designated Smoking Area” (DSA) or “Smoking Area” signage with a graphic-based health warning on the effects of tobacco usage in areas where smoking is allowed;
  • Report to the nearest Smoke-Free Task Force of the concerned city or municipality any tobacco product selling, advertising and/or promotion within 100 meters from the perimeter of schools, public playgrounds, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors;
  • Post the “Sale/Distribution of Tobacco Products to Minors is Unlawful” along with a graphic-based health warning at point-of-sale establishments;
  • Remove from the places where smoking is prohibited all ashtrays and other receptacles for disposing of cigarette refuse; and
  • Establish internal procedure and measures within the area he/she is in-charge including compliance with the smoking, sales, distribution, advertising and promotions restrictions, and ensure that all employees in the establishment are aware of said measures.

Under EO 26, establishments that "knowingly allows, abets, authorizes or tolerates prohibited acts under the order or fails to fulfill his duties and obligations may be subjected to corresponding sanctions."

The EO provides that smoking may be allowed only in a DSA or an area of a building which can be an open space, or separate area with proper ventilation, subject to specific standards.

It also states that no DSAs should be established in public places such as centers of youth activity, playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for minors.

DSAs should not also be seen in elevators and stairwells, as well as in locations in which fire hazards are present including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials.

At the same time, DSAs should not be established within the buildings and premises of public hospitals, medical, dental and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories as well as food preparation areas. (PNA)