DESPITE the intensified anti-smoking campaign in Davao City, the Vices Regulation Unit (VRU) recorded more than 50 percent increase in apprehensions of smoking violators from the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year.
more than 3,200 apprehensions from the first quarter of the year as compared to the same period last year.
VRU-Anti Smoking Task Force chief Dr. Ashley Lopez said on Thursday that more than 3,200 apprehensions were recorded from January to March this year compared less than 2,100 apprehensions.
Lopez said in 2018, more than 10,000 apprehensions were reported. He said the office is expecting more than 12,000 apprehensions before the year ends.
He said majority of apprehended smokers are locals while 20 percent are tourists or migrants from different countries.
"’Di malikayan nga daghan gihapon madakpan despite further enforcement kay naa ta'y influx sa mga tao diria sa Davao City (There will always be apprehensions due to the influx of people here)," Lopez said on Thursday during the ISpeak forum at the Davao City Hall conference room.
"Considering the growing economy of the city, some are even not aware of the law," he added, "Maong continuous ang atong education campaign so that everyone will be aware ug matarong na nato kini maimplement (We are continuously conducting education campaign to properly implemet this, so that everyone will be aware of it.)"
He also said the increased number of apprehensions was due to the integration of police and other support and voluntary groups, who are tasked to apprehend violators of the ordinance.
Lopez said the unit will be integrating their monitoring by deputizing 3,800 personnel from Civil Security Unit (CSU) and selected officials of all barangays in the city.
With this, he said the city will be smoke-free in the future.
The Anti-Smoking Ordinance was first implemented in the city in 2002, under the administration of then city mayor, now President Rodrigo Duterte.
The ordinance prohibits smoking in public conveyances, government-owned vehicles, accommodation and entertainment establishments – such as bars and hotels – workplaces, enclosed or partially enclosed public places, and public buildings.