BAGUIO CITY The Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) reported that deputized enforcers were able to apprehend some one thousand three hundred forty eight individuals for violation of the pertinent provisions of Ordinance No. 34, series of 2017 or the Smoke Free Ordinance of Baguio City over the past four months.
Based on a report submitted to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, the POSD claimed that March recorded the biggest number of violators of the city’s anti-smoking ordinance with 568 followed by February with 317, April – 302 violators, May – 117 violators and January – 52.
The POSD revealed that of the total number of violators, 822 were able to settle their penalties with the City Treasury Office based on the POSD’s monitoring through the issued official receipts being submitted.
On the other hand 451 violators failed to settle their prescribed penalties, 94 were turned over to the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and 12 violators were able to render community service.
The POSD noted that among the recorded violators were a few number of business establishments, while a significant number of those apprehended violators were described to be visitors in the city who claim that they were not aware of the strict implementation of the city’s approved anti-smoking edict.
According to the report, the POSD had a difficult time monitoring the compliance of business establishments in relation to the payment of their prescribed penalties because of certain processes that have yet to be ironed out by the concerned offices.
Moreover, the POSD also submitted their reports to the Permits and Licensing Division (POSD) with regards the business establishments that were issued citation tickets by the deputized enforcers for the said office to help monitor the compliance of the establishment owners in the settlement of their prescribed penalties.
As part of its contributions to the annual Brigada Eskwela, the Smoke Free Task Force are now conducting ocular inspections to the different business establishments located near schools to make sure that they strictly adhere to the provisions of the ordinance in preparation for the upcoming opening of classes on Monday, June 4, 2018 so that schoolchildren and students will be spared from the sale and disposal of cigarettes.
The members of the task force reminded the establishment owners not to sell cigarettes and other tobacco products to the schoolchildren and students because they will be imposed the necessary penalties for their violations as embodied in the city’s anti-smoking ordinance which was strictly implemented since last year.
Aside from smoking in public places, the ordinance prohibits establishment owners from selling cigarettes by piece to their clients so that residents and visitors alike will surely adhere to the pertinent provisions of the local legislative measure which is now being implemented in full force and effect in the different parts of the city by law enforcers and deputized public safety enforcers under the POSD.
The implementation of the anti-smoking ordinance is part of an overall initiative to make Baguio City a smoke-free city.
By Dexter A. See