Stricter smoking ban in Davao starts May 31

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Monday, April 8, 2013


DAVAO CITY -- Smokers complaining of the strict smoking ban in this city will have more to complain about as an even stricter smoking ban will soon be implemented.

Bent on making the city smoke-free, City Hall added teeth to its policy against smoking with the implementation of City Ordinance 0367-12, otherwise known as the New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Davao City, starting May 31.

Anti-Smoking Task Force of Davao City head Dr. Domilyn C. Villareiz, speaking in Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Annex, made it clear that the new ordinance is not an amendment of the city ordinance on anti-smoking but a new policy that has a wider scope and stricter policies.

"Na-inform na namin lahat ng police. Na-orient na sila but we will be launching the ordinance on May 31, which is also the 11th anniversary of the anti-smoking campaign of Davao City," Villareiz said.

"The ordinance now has a wider scope as it covers not only cigarettes but all tobacco products. So, if there will be emerging or new tobacco products coming in the city, it will be covered by the ordinance. It also covers water pipes, shisha and e-cigarettes," Villareiz said.

The new ordinance prohibits people from smoking in public conveyances, government-owned vehicles, accommodation and entertainment establishments, workplaces, enclosed or partially enclosed public places, public buildings and public outdoor spaces.

With the new policy, people are also not allowed to smoke in public gatherings such as concerts, rallies, parades and other gatherings.

"In the previous ordinance, the cemetery, markets, terminals and public places were not included but now, it is covered in the new ordinance," Villareiz said.

Smokers are only allowed to smoke in their residence, private vehicles and designated outdoor smoking areas.

"The designation of indoor smoking areas in business establishments is now prohibited under this ordinance as it only allows the designation of outdoor smoking areas. Those companies or establishments that are looking to set up an outdoor smoking area will have to apply for a permit from the Anti-Smoking Task Force," Villareiz said.

The selling of tobacco products, shisha, and e-cigarettes in accommodation, entertainment, and public establishments are also prohibited under the ordinance.

First-time violators will be given a citation ticket by the arresting police officer. A violator will have to attend smoking cessation counseling and pay the administrative penalty of P500 before giving the citation back to the arresting police officer.

Penalties for subsequent violators have been increased, with fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000, while the length of imprisonment also increased with one month as the minimum and four months maximum depending on the gravity of the offense.

Establishments that have put up outdoor smoking areas will also face the same penalties if they fail to comply with the provisions of the said ordinance.

Villareiz also clarified that the city ordinance is not in conflict with the Republic Act 9211, otherwise known as The Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, a policy that “protects the populace from hazardous products and promote the right to health and instill health consciousness among them.”

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) chief Ronald dela Rosa, who was also present during the press conference, pledged to work hand-in-hand with the Anti-Smoking Task Force in implementing the new ordinance.

"Sige lang tag dakop-buhi, dakop-buhi, pero giingnan nako akong mga tawo nga dili kapoyon kay mahurot lang gihapon nang mga violators (We have been arresting-releasing, arresting-releasing but I told my men not to get tired since the violators will still be eradicated)," Dela Rosa said.

He also encouraged the public to reprimand violators in the absence of law enforcers. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 09, 2013.

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