Palace: PNoy not exempted from smoking ban

Posted at 05/31/2011 2:48 PM | Updated as of 05/31/2011 7:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Even if he is the country’s most powerful person, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is not exempt from the smoking ban clause a government agency is monitoring.

“I don't think anybody is exempted form the anti-smoking campaign,” deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

On Monday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) started deploying environmental enforcers to warn, and eventually apprehend, violators of the smoking ban in public places.

Asked how the President will smoke in Malacañang, Valte said: "Hindi naman po prohibited in all places. May enumeration po kasi ng mga lugar na kino-consider na public place kung saan po bawal."

Palace spokespersons have always been insistent that Aquino’s smoking is needed because of his stressful work. It said smoking for Aquino is part of his “pastime.”

His communications team has always been ready to rebuff anti-smoking advocates. Earlier, doctors asked Aquino to lead by example and stop smoking. – with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News