Episcopal church backs anti-smoking policy

BAGUIO CITY  – The Metro Baguio Deanery of the Episcopal Diocese of North Central Philippines (EDNCP) passed a resolution strongly supporting the city’s aggressive anti-smoking campaign pursuant to Ordinance No. 34, series of 2017 to contribute in efforts to rid the air with unnecessary pollutants.

In a resolution that was unanimously approved by the members, the Metro Baguio Deanery stated that Holy scriptures mandate people to safeguard our bodies from any harm as they are the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit.’

The resolution underscored that the explanatory note of Ordinance No. 34, series of 2017 otherwise known as the city’s Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance correctly stipulated that ‘the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental and constitutionally guaranteed right of every Filipino citizen, and that public health takes precedence over any commercial or business interest,’ thus, the need for the local government to intensify the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the measure to sustain the good quality of air around the city.

The Metro Baguio Deanery emphasized the city’s anti-smoking ordinance is in line with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines that church premises are ‘non-smoking areas’ where the said institutions are churches, schools, hospitals or in places where people converge.

It can be recalled that on April 24, 2017, the local legislative body enacted Ordinance No. 34, series of 2017 or the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance which amended the pertinent provisions of Ordinance No. 08, series of 2008.

The resolution commended the local government for aggressively implementing the provisions of the anti-smoking ordinance despite the continuous refusal of some individuals to comply with the measure.

The resolution urged smokers to start removing the said vice to help in improving their health condition and contribute in individual and collective efforts to help in getting rid of the unnecessary pollutants in the city’s air that will translate to improved air quality in the future.

Under the city’s Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance, violators will be imposed an initial fine of P1,000 for the first offense, a fine of P2,000 for the second offense and a fine of P3,000 and imprisonment of 3 months for the third and succeeding offenses.

For those who have been apprehended for selling, providing access and advertising cigarettes, violators will also be penalized by a fine of P2,000 for the first offense, a fine of P3,000 for the second offense a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment for a period of 3 months or both at the discretion of the court and suspension or revocation of business license or permit in case of a business entity if applicable for the third and succeeding offenses.

The resolution which will be transmitted to the local government and concerned law enforcement agencies urged deputized enforcers to aggressively implement the provisions of the city’s anti-smoking ordinance to eventually curb the proliferation of smoking, especially in public places, which has been contributing to the pollution of the city’s air quality.

The Metro Baguio Deanery is one of the most active organizations of the EDNCP espousing various advocacies to empower people to reform their ways of life and obey the Holy scriptures.

By HENT

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