SMOKING IN public places, prohibited under a Presidential declaration as well as through various local government ordinances, remains widespread with 209,906 violators caught in Metro Manila over the 10-month period from June 13, 2018 to April 14 this year. The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), which keeps track of the apprehensions, said the smoking ban topped the list of violated local rules, followed by the curfew hours for minors with 55,327. Walking shirtless in the streets came in third with 47,207, and drinking in public spaces at 42,763. The NCRPO said of the of the total number of violators, 601,823 were only given a warning, while 180,611 were slapped with corresponding fines, and 134,551 are facing charges filed by the police. Executive Order No. 26, entitled Providing for the Establishment of Smoke-Free Environments in Public and Enclosed Places, was issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in May 2017 and took effect on July 23 that year. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras