MANILA—Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he needs more time to study the proposed executive order banning smoking nationwide as he eyes to reach a compromise on the designated smoking areas.
The President said that he was still weighing expected resistance to the initiative and possible areas for compromise, citing as an example designated smoking areas inside a building.
In a media interview on Tuesday, March 7, at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace, the President explained that, “there are a lot of dynamics there. So just give me enough time to study.”
The Chief Executive said he was supposed to sign this week the draft executive order submitted by Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, who was pushing for the approval of the order.
“I have to be very careful in trying to navigate the way how I can present it to the public,” the President said, noting that the smoking ban in Davao is a different case.
“For example, I’d need the pronouncements, not really the opinion, the pronouncements of our medical sector and they should be also in the forefront of this because they know the benefits of totally banning smoking inside..,” he said.
In the same interview, the President said he had ordered the arrest of the owner of Mighty Corporation who used fake cigarette stamps.
He also confirmed the appointment of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya as the new head of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
Meanwhile, Duterte said he wants to “strike a happy compromise” between the government and mining industry with a view to “protecting the public interest.”
He also appealed to lawmakers to allow Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, whose confirmation is pending at the Commission on Appointments, to present her case.
“If you’d listen to Gina present her case… but you have to concede something to (her). Talagang nagtatrabaho, and she has pointed out the so many factors that would eventually affect the environment of Mindanao,” he said.
“We cannot be allowing diggings forever in the every nook and corner of the mountain ranges. It would spell disaster,” he warned.
The President also announced that he had met with Zhong Shan, the Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, “who brought with him a windfall.”
“He just brought in… one billion dollars, agri products, they’re coming next month and they have scheduled something like 10 billion for the present — o ‘yung ano, 10 billion dollars all-in-all, hopefully coming our way,” he said.
The Chinese government, the President said, has also allotted one million dollars for the rehabilitation of Surigao, which was hit by a 6.7-magnitude earthquake last month.
On another note, the President asked local government officials to timely and effectively use the powers of the local government to restore order in their respective areas.
“In some areas in Mindanao, there’s a near-anarchy in the sense that they just throw grenades there at houses and whatever… So may I just plead to you, for those local officials who are in governance, kindly make use of the powers of government to restore order,” he said.