ENVIRONMENTALISTS and health advocates have lauded Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat for banning smoking in public places.
Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) Philippines, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines (FCAP) and the Ecowaste Coalition, in a statement, said Romulo-Puyat took a bold step in protecting the island of Boracay.
“We laud Sec. Puyat for her recent pronouncement that the island of Boracay will now be smoke free. She is the only Secretary that has the audacity to implement this policy and this only goes to show that she is a true servant of the Filipino people,”said ASH President Roberto Del Rosario.
He added, “Aside from protecting the environment, we believe such initiative will also ensure that tourists – especially children – are protected from the ill effects of smoking and second-hand smoke. Likewise, we are one with Sec. Puyat’s vision of having sustainable tourism for the country.”
Meanwhile, FCAP Executive Director Dr. Maricar Limpin reminded local government units to strictly implement the provisions of Executive Order No. 26 or the nationwide smoking ban.
“We hope that with DOT’s strong position on smokefree, all local government units should prioritize the health of its constituents not only by banning smoking and drinking in public places. It is high-time for local governments to act proactively on this matter,” she added.
For their part, environment and public health watchdog Ecowaste Coalition said it welcomes the DOT’s initiative not only to protect health but also urban, rural and marine ecosystems from cigarette butts.
“Although small and lightweight, cigarette butts take several years to degrade, contain many harmful chemicals, pose environmental health risks, and waste public funds for cleanup and disposal,” said Ecowaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero.
In her recent directive, Romulo-Puyat yesterday said smoking and drinking in public places would be banned in Boracay. The ban covers not only the beach but other public places in Boracay.