SOME P6.2 million was collected by Baguio City’s anti-smoking task force from 2018 to 2019.
Doctor Donnabel Tubera of the Baguio City Health Services Office and lead campaigner of the anti-smoking task force, explained the collected fees will be placed in a trust fund to be used for tobacco control program.
“As a result of this, we are not so happy because although it collected a lot, it’s shows that many violated the ordinance. Just a bit data for December 2019 during the influx of tourist in the city, our enforcers recorded 652 violators just for that month alone as compared to the previous wherein this record covers quarterly violations. This covers 580 individuals and 72 establishments,” Tubera said.
The health specialist however said only 100 individuals and 21 establishments paid the fine.
“Nevertheless it is really sending the message that we are strict in the implementation more than the collection. We have seen the impact based on a research study we made which showed that the prevalence of smoking before and after the ordinance which showed before the passing of the ordinance, the city recorded a 34 percent prevalence of smoking while after the implementation, the prevalence was recorded to be at 17 percent meaning this was a high impact policy of the city,” Tubera explained.
Tubera lauded members of the City Council for passing a credible and effective ordinance.
“We believe that the City Council really came up with a very good policy because of the fines collected from the said ordinance. These are policies of government that we need to support,” Tubera added.
In 2019, the anti–smoking task force apprehended 3,288 individuals with 729 of them paying fines while 1,194 establishments violated the ordinance with 561 paying.
Establishments who failed to pay the fine need to settle their violations before their business permits are renewed.