Pangasinan identifies smoke free zones

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LINGAYEN, Pangasinan  – Smoking is now strictly prohibited in all government offices, hospitals, building, work areas, grounds and canteens within the Capitol compound and inside hospital grounds and premises provincewide.

Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr., recently signed a memorandum calling for the implementation of the smoking prohibition in compliance with the Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 17, s. 2009 or the Smoking Prohibition Based on 100 % Smoke-Free Environment Policy and the CSC-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular 2010-01 or the Protection of the Bureaucracy Against Tobacco Industry Interference.

In line with this, the Provincial Government of Pangasinan has adopted the guidelines relative to the circulars to ensure a smoke-free, safe and healthy environment for employees as well as its clients.

The Circular also strictly prohibits smoking in government vehicles to ensure that employees and clients will be spared from the serious negative effects of first-hand, second-hand and even third-hand smoke.

It also includes the removal of ashtrays or any receptacle for dispensing cigarette refuse in the different government offices to prevent officials, employees and even the public from being tempted to smoke.

For the smoking public, however, the provincial government has designated a smoking area within the Capitol Compound which is at the Veterans Park, an open space in order to ensure that the public will be spared from the serious negative effects of inhaling cigarette smoke from smokers.

The chiefs of offices and hospitals have been tasked to ensure that all employees and the transacting public are made aware of this the smoking ban through widespread dissemination of the said information to prevent those being apprehended from reasoning out that they are not aware of the ban in smoking in all provincial government offices in the different parts of the province.

Employees who violate said prohibition will be subject to disciplinary action pursuant to Rule XIV (Discipline) of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code of the Philippines and pertinent civil service rules and regulations.

Espino cited government officials and employees should set an example by quitting smoking so that the public will be able to emulate them and make the province a smoke free province to help in getting rid of unnecessary pollutants in the air that contribute to the air pollution in their place.

He called on government officials and employees to act as professionals in setting the examples of model public servants instead of being the ones subjected to fines and penalties for their mere violations of the province’s anti-smoking policy.

By Dexter A. See

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