BAGUIO CITY – Members of the Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force conducted inspections of business establishments at the central business district on Feb. 13 and 15 to monitor the extent of compliance to Ordinance No. 34 series of 2017 or Smoke-Free Baguio ordinance.
City Tobacco Control Officer Dr. Donnabel Tubera said this was part of the continuing monitoring and information-education-communication (IEC) campaign on the ordinance.
Business firms along Session Road and its vicinity was the first line in the inspection from 1:30-3 p.m. by the task force teams.
Inspections began two weeks ago at the tobacco section of the Baguio City Market where the task force noted violations in the 20 stalls particularly on the provision prohibiting the open display of the products.
During the meeting with the tobacco sellers, the task force explained the provision particularly Section 5 letter S which prohibits the display and placing of tobacco products and/or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in open store shelves or racks as these should be put in enclosed opaque or single-colored containers.
The rule applies to all stores even if they do not fall within the 100-meter distance (from school, public playground, other facilities frequented by minors, Dept. of Health officers or agencies, hospital, health facility) prohibition.
Violators of this specific provision face fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 with options to render community service.
The stallowners were advised to comply and put their tobacco products mostly tobacco leaves, ground leaves and cooked tobacco products in appropriate containers and hidden from view.
“Any way, there’s no need for you to expose your products as people already know that you have them here,” Tubera told them
The prospect of them changing business was also discussed as some of them expressed willingness to shift to selling fruits or other products as they expect their sales to dwindle due to the expanded smoking prohibition.
They said most of their products come from La Union and Pangasinan and most of their customers are from Benguet and Mt. Province.
Market Superintendent Fernando Ragma Jr. committed the city’s support to those who will venture into selling other goods as Mayor Mauricio Domogan himself encourages the shift to other products.
By: Aileen P. Refuerzo