AT least 243 person have so far been arrested for vaping in public places throughout the country since Thursday last week.
In a press briefing at Camp Crame, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the violators were arrested in 2,878 operations conducted by police units.
“All 243 persons were released after documentation,” Banac said, adding the operations also resulted in the confiscation of 318 vape gadgets and 666 pieces of vape juices.
He said 195 violators were apprehended in Central Visayas in 280 operations while 10 violators were arrested in Metro Manila.
Banac said there had been no report of violators resisting arrest.
President Duterte last week ordered a ban on vaping in public places and the importation of vaping gadgets.
“Everybody cooperated. They know that they are emitting smoke in areas that are not designated smoking areas. Peacefully, they submitted themselves to the police, their arrest was recorded on the blotter and immediately released,” said Banac.
The PNP has said they cannot detain the violators due to the absence of an executive order against vaping.
Banac said the arrests are being undertaken by the PNP based on Executive Order 26; Republic Act 9211 (an act regulating the packing, use, sale distribution and advertisement of tobacco products); and RA 8749 or the Clean Air Act.
He also noted Presidential Decree 984 issued by the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos in 1976 defines smoking and vaping “as forms of pollution harmful, detrimental or injurious to public health and safety or welfare.”
“This provides legal basis for arrest,” said Banac, referring to Presidential Decree 984.
“Vaping in public is subject to warrantless arrest or apprehension since the legal purpose is to bring offender to the police station for blotter and recording…Those with contrary opinion may go to the court for judicial review,” said Banac.