City Strengthens Anti-Smoking Campaign
May 30, 2015
BAGUIO CITY – the City Government here is slated to amend the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance also known as City Ordinance Number 8 series of 2008 to make it more effective in its implementation.
The proposed amendatory ordinance introduced by Councilors Richard Carino, Elmer Datuin and Fred Bagbagen will be known as the “New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Baguio City.”
According to Mayor Mauricio Domogan during the Stakeholders Meeting held Wednesday, the city’s Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance still has loopholes in certain portions of the ordinance such as prohibited acts, designation of smoking areas and definition of public places which need improvement and amendments for its implementation to be effective.
Domogan said, “a stumbling block for the ordinance has been decided in court which said that the definition of a public place was not appropriately indicated in the ordinance, hence the needed amendment.”
The amendatory ordinance presently with the Sangunian Panglungsod Committee on Health and Sanitation, Ecology and Environmental Protection cures this defect by enumerating in detail places where it is prohibited to smoke.
The amendatory ordinance further strengthens Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act which empowers city and municipal mayors, building officials and the police with the responsibility of ensuring full compliance of the law.
Section 5 of the RA 9211 specifically prohibits Smoking in the following public places; a. Centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for persons under eighteen (18) years old; b. Elevator and stairwells; c. Location in which fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials; d. Within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals. Medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories; e. Public conveyance and public facilities including airport and ship terminals and train and bus stations, restaurant and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas; and f. Food preparation areas.
The law also designates Non-Smoking Areas in all enclosed places that are open to the general public, private workplaces, and other places not covered under the preceding section, where smoking may expose a person to the other than the smoker to tobacco smoke, the owner, proprietor, possessor, manager or administrator of such places shall establish smoking areas.
Such areas may include a designated smoking area within the building, which may be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation, but shall not be located within the same room that has been designated as a non-smoking area.
The law states; a fine of not less than five hundred pesos but not lower than one thousand pesos will be imposed on the first offense and a fine of not less than One Thousand Pesos (Php1,000.00) but not more than Five Thousand Pesos (Php5,000.00) shall be imposed on the second offense while, in addition to a fine of not less than Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) but not more than Ten Thousand pesos (Php10,000.00), the business permits and licenses to operate shall be cancelled or revoked in the third offense.
The proposed amendatory ordinance however imposes a fine of 500 for the first offense, 1,000.00 for the second offense and 2,500.00 for the third offense or imprisonment for a period of not less than one month but not exceeding six months or both and suspension or revocation of business permits for establishments.
Dr. Donnabel Tubera of the City Health Office said, “included in the amendatory ordinance is a Citation Ticket System (CTS) for violators which will be issued by the city treasurer to duly authorized enforcers.”
An option for community service will also be put in place for violators who are unable to pay the fine.
Suggestions from the task force and other stakeholders will be submitted to the city for ratification and inclusion as new provisions of the regulation ordinance.
The passage of the amendatory ordinance also includes a provision of assistance to smokers who are willing to quit under its Smoking Cessation Program./Paul Rillorta