BAGUIO CITY – A total of 186 violators of the Smoke-Free Ordinance were arrested by elements of the City Public Order and Safety Division of the City Mayor’s Office from August 2017 to January 31 this year.
In a report submitted to Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force chair, the POSD headed by Paul Cambod said that of the 186, 90 paid the corresponding penalties, 41 were turned over to Baguio City Police station 7 for further action, 48 failed to pay their penalties and seven opted to render community service by picking up garbage and cleaning within the vicinity of Block 4 at the city market.
Of the number, six were minors and 26 were from other places presumably tourists. They were arrested within the city business district mostly at the city market area.
The fees collected pursuant to Ordinance No. 34 series of 2017 totaled to P91,000.
City Tobacco Control Officer Dr. Donnabel Tubera said the City Government deputized 72 personnel, 60 of them from POSD personnel to assist the Baguio City Police Office and the task force in the enforcement of the law.
This is on top of the POSD’s task to implement laws on anti-peddling, littering, jaywalking, among others.
Ordinance No. 34-2017 approved in April last year prohibits the use, sale, distribution and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products in public utility vehicles, government-owned vehicles (mobile and stationary), accommodation and entertainment establishments, public buildings, public places, enclosed public places or any enclosed areas outside one’s private residence or private place of work except in duly designated smoking areas.
The ordinance prohibits smoking or vaping in public places, workplaces, public conveyances or other public places except in designated smoking areas (DSA) duly approved and fully compliant with the requirements.
Included in the prohibited acts in the ordinance are “allowing, abetting or tolerating smoking or vaping in accommodation establishments,” smoking inside government-owned or PUV whether moving or stationary or while waiting for passengers; selling or distributing and purchasing tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) to and from minors or ordering them to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise or promote tobacco and ENDS products;
Selling or distributing tobacco products and /or ENDS in a school, public playground or other facility frequented by minors, offices of the Department of Health and attached agencies, hospitals and health facilities or within 100 meters from these places, government facilities.
In terms of advertising, the following will be disallowed:
Placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisements and promotional materials of tobacco products or ENDS within an establishment covered by the ban; conducting promotional activities, campaigns, events, product sampling and the like in establishments covered; displaying and placing tobacco products and ENDS in open store shelves except in opaque and single-colored storage; and facilitation, participation or partnership engaged by any government officials or personnel in any form of contribution, sponsorship or corporate social responsibility activity by the tobacco company in the city.
Violators face fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 with options to render community service. – Aileen P. Refuerzo