MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) admitted that implementation of a country-wide smoking ban that took effect three months ago remains a challenge.

According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, the full and effective implementation of Executive Order (EO) No. 26 continues to face challenges, especially at the hands of local government units (LGUs).

"It is easy to have an EO but the success of its implementation is another story," said Duque.

To identify the challenges and find ways to address them, he said that he intends to hold dialogues with LGUs that has success stories on implementing tobacco control policies.

"We want to know what are the real implementation challenges," he added.

Under the said plan, he said that they will talk about the experiences of those who were recognized as experts on the program, such as Davao and Makati who were among the recipients of Red Orchid Awards.

The said award is given to LGUs who have outstanding efforts and initiatives on creating a smoke-free environment.

Executive Order No. 26 took effect last July that prohibited smoking in all enclosed public places and public conveyances, except in designated smoking areas on a nationwide basis.

Under the said EO, the LGUs were directed to create a task force that will implement what the law provides for those who commit violations which include penalties. (PNA)