LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, July 28 (PIA) - - Smoking in public places here has been minimized since the Tobacco Control Ordinance took effect early part of January, and reinforced with the recent national ban on smoking.
Smoke-Free Environment Program Coordinator Dr. Genevieve Wagang-Degay said compared to previous observations, smoking in public places has now been reduced with the issuance of citation tickets to violators as provided under the ordinance. Most of those apprehended are visitors who are not aware of the ordinance, she reported.
Remy Daguasi, president of the Women’s Brigade, a volunteer group deputized as enforcer under the Municipal Police Office, informed that in the early part of the implementation, there were really a lot of violators. Smokers are now conscious where to do their stuff. Violators now are found in the interior parts of the town or those who really refuse to follow or visitors who are unaware of the town’s policy, she claimed.
Police Chief Inspector Benson Macli-ing, Acting Chief of Police, said there are 128 apprehensions as of July. Majority was recorded in the month of March totaling 65. Most paid the penalty. Only few opted to do community service as reflected in the report.
Under the local law, penalty for the violations are as follows: First offense, P1, 500.00; Second offense, P2, 000 and third offense, P2, 500.00 or imprisonment up to a period of less than one year or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
The ordinance prohibits smoking of any tobacco product in any part of any enclosed or partially enclosed public place, workplace, public conveyance whether mobile or stationary or other outdoor public places.
It also prohibits among others the selling, giving or distributing tobacco products to minors; selling, distributing and advertising tobacco products in a school, public playground or any other facility frequented by minors or within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of such places; purchasing of tobacco products from minors; and placing, posting or distributing any type of tobacco advertisement outside premises of point-of-sale establishments.
Meanwhile, Executive Order 26 imposing nationwide ban on smoking in public places took effect July 23, 2017. Susan C. Aro (JDP/SCA-PIA CAR, Benguet)