BONTOC, Mountain Province – No to spitting of betel nut (momma) juice along the streets of Bontoc is the new mantra of tricycle operators and drivers of this capital town.
For a second time in a row this January, tricycle operators and drivers cleaned, brushed and swept portions of the road that were tainted with spit of betel nut (momma) and scattered cigarette butts morning of January 22, 2019. They started their clean-up drive in front of the Bontoc Municipal Capitol going to the Mountain Province SPED Center frontage. This was made possible with the assistance of the Bontoc Municipal Fire Station that volunteered its fire truck and personnel for the flushing of water along the road. Also, the personnel of the Bontoc Municipal Police Station (MPS) helped in the clean-up drive.
According to Danay Aquino, the Secretariat of the Bontoc Municipal Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (BMTFRB), the first batch totalling to 80 tricycle drivers and operators conducted a similar clean-up drive along the thoroughfare of Poblacion, Bontoc on January 14, 2019. The BMTFRB which is authorize to issue franchise to tricycle for it to operate as a public transport is chaired by Mayor Franklin Odsey.
Mayor Odsey who was informed of the clean-up drive was elated with the positive response of the tricycle drivers and operators to do their share in maintaining the cleanliness of the streets of Bontoc.
Prior to the activity, the Office of the Municipal Mayor and the BMTFRB made a call to the transport group in Bontoc to be in the front line in the clean and green program of the municipal government. This includes compliance with the “No Spitting of Momma Anywhere” in consonance to a municipal ordinance that prohibits and penalizes unsanitary acts within the municipality.
“While you cleaned, brushed and swept the streets of Bontoc, you also helped in raising awareness to the public of the “No Spitting of Momma Anywhere” ordinance of our municipality”, the mayor remarked.
Odsey also hopes that this act of volunteerism by the tricycle operators and drivers will inspire others to do their share too.
“This is a reminder to everyone that it is us, the people of Bontoc who should work together in maintaining a clean and healthy environment,” he added.
The mayor also advised momma chewers to bring their own spitting bottle and dispose it properly.
Municipal Ordinance No. 125, s. 2008 that prohibits the spitting of momma or momma juice/ concoction /material in any place other than in his private and personal spitting receptacle which must be carried in his person and in a manner that poses no inconvenience or disapproval from other people; and disposing of any momma material or spit unsanitary sight thereat or that evokes disapproval from other people.
In addition, no establishment, residence or place shall be found having its trash receptacle or its premises tainted with traces or indications of momma material. Also, the respective owner, operator, or occupant of establishments, residences, or place of business like vehicle parking/loading areas and retail stands/stalls, shall be held fully accountable for the desirable sanitations of their respective places pursuant to the provision of the ordinance.
Violator of this ordinance shall be fined P500.00 for the 1st Offense, P750.00 for the 2nd Offense and P1, 000.00 for the 3rd and succeeding offenses.
To further strengthen the implementation of the ordinance, barangay officials and the Green Police were given the authority by the municipal government to apprehend and issue citation ticket to anyone who violates the ordinance.
Meanwhile, frequent betel nut chewers are advised to stop the habit as they may be at risk of acquiring oral or mouth cancer.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), betel nut itself has been classified as a carcinogen (carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Cancer.
Health studies reveal that people who chew betel nut with lime have an increased chance of developing mouth cancer and people who chew the mixture with tobacco have a greater risk of acquiring the disease.
The WHO specified that oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, gums, the lining of the mouth, or the lips. Warning signs of oral cancer include sore spots or ulceration of lips, tongue, or other areas inside the mouth that do not heal promptly; swelling of the lips, gums or other area inside the mouth; difficulty in chewing or swallowing; repeated bleeding in the mouth with no apparent cause, and numbness or loss of feeling in any part of the mouth.
Thus, betel nut chewers who are experiencing the symptoms are advised to visit their dentist for earlier intervention treatment.
The WHO also promotes oral health as an effective preventive measure against oral or mouth cancer. Accordingly, tooth brushing two to three times a day is the most effective and cost-effective way of keeping your teeth healthy. By Alpine L. Killa