BAGUIO CITY – Cigarettes and other tobacco products including ashtrays and other paraphernalia worth an estimated P150,000 were ceremonially “crushed” in Thursday’s “Hike, Bike and Like for a Smoke-Free Life” program at the Athletic Bowl preceded by a parade along the city’s main thoroughfares spearheaded by the Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force.
Leading the rhythmic stomping was councilor Joel Alangsab, principal sponsor of the Smoke-Free Baguio Ordinance (Ord. No. 34, series of 2017), joined by local health officials, representatives from the city government, police, barangays, bike and Zumba groups including those from the transportation, religious, academic sectors and other concerned agencies.
Task force officer Donnabel Panes of the health services office said the cigarettes and paraphernalia were confiscated from violators of the ordinance that prohibits the use, sale, distribution and advertisement of cigarettes/e-cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain places and imposing penalties.
Earlier, two sacks of tobacco products and other items worth around P75,000 were similarly crushed by local officials led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Rep. Mark Go during flag-raising rites at City Hall.
Alangsab reiterated his appeal for every sector to work hand-in-hand with the city government in making the Summer Capital a “smoke-free city” since everybody deserves to “breathe clean air”. His call was bolstered by assistant city health officer Celia Brillantes who mentioned the health risks and numerous deaths caused by smoking that affects others thru second and third-hand smoke.
The alderman also led participants in reciting a Pledge of Commitment to support the Smoke-Free Baguio ordinance followed by the marking thru thumbprints of a commitment board to cement their pledge.
The program commenced with a Zumba dance and included the awarding of Certificates of Recognition to DPS Compound and Lopez Jaena barangays for being “model barangays” in the city’s on-going anti-smoking campaign.
Two former heavy smokers who have successful quit the deadly habit also shared their testimonies and encouraged others to stop smoking for the sake of their health and that of their loved ones. “If we can do it, so can you,” they both stressed.
The program ended with a call to end smoking and start a healthy life by Partas bus station manager Ignacio Tadeo followed by a health and wellness fair./Gaby Keith