Smokers to undertake community services

ERRING smokers may soon be asked to clean public bathrooms or the momma stained pavement of the Igorot Park.

Last week, members of the Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force presided by City Health Officer Donnabel Tubera and Councilor Joel Alangsab convened to assess issues faced by the police and the POSD during the six month implementation of the new law.

The group was unanimous in its decision to include community service in the penalties for 10 hours subscribed by the new law.

Alangsab said violators who refuse or do not have the capacity to pay the P1,000 fine imposed when apprehended smoking in the city will have to render community service with these options to chose from.

Violators of the ordinance as to smoking or vaping will be fined P1,000; P2,000 and P3,000 or imprisonment, suspension or revocation of business license, if applicable while violation of the ban for advertising and promotion would be meted P2,000; P3,000 and P5,000 penalties. Imprisonment, suspension or revocation of business license or permit could be done in such cases.

Proceeds from the payment of penalties will be used for printing of information, education and communication materials, meetings, inspection and enforcement, incentives for private citizens who report violations, and the apprehending officer.

Records from the Public Order and Safety Division from August to December 2017 show there were 54 violators who paid the P1,000 fine while 41 were turned over to the Baguio City Police Office, Station 7 with 13 yet to pay the penalties and seven opting to render community service.

The councilor admitted there are a number of establishments in the city which do not follow the new law and still allow smoking inside their premises without designated smoking sections as specified in the law, but assured the enforcers will now be focusing on these this year.

Smoking areas need to be approved by the City Health Services Office. Persons-in-charge of areas and premises intending to put up designated smoking areas (DSA) need to secure a certification or permit from the duly authorized officer; or the Civil Service Commission, or from the City Buildings Official and City health Services Officer.

Last year, the city council approved the amended Anti-Smoking Ordinance dubbed the “Smoke Free Baguio,” which prohibits the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain places and imposing penalties for violations.

Under the amended ordinance, priority and right is given for the protection of public health, safety, and promotion of tobacco control, in public places, public conveyances; but considers the provision of smoking areas, with details on posting of proper signages.
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