THE Anti-Smoking Task Force (ASTF) had apprehended a total of 3,690 individuals from January to November 2013 for violating the Davao City's Anti-Smoking Ordinance, an official said.
According to the ASTF's report on the Anti-Smoking Campaign of Davao City, a total of 2,364 were issued with violation citation tickets after the implementation of New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance (Ordinance 0367-12, Series of 2012) on June 2013 while 1,326 were apprehended prior to the implementation of the ordinance.
"There were no cases filed in court against them but were only issued violation citation tickets, required to pay the fine of P500 to the City Treasurer's Office, and attend the counseling at the City Health Office," ASTF co-chairperson Dr. Domilyn C. Villarreiz said during Davao Press Club's Kapehan sa Dabaw at The Annex of SM City Davao on Monday.
According to The New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance (Ordinance 0367-12, Series of 2012), "the person issued with the ticket has the option to either contest the violation in court or voluntarily pay the penalty of P500 imposed upon him or her to avoid being criminally prosecuted within three days from apprehension".
She said from June to December 2013, the city treasurer has collected only P955,500 in fines from 1,911 violators.
Villarreiz also warned violators that cases may be filed against them if they do not return their citation tickets to the task force.
"Sometimes they do not return it to the police station, so even if they have paid the P500, cases will still be filed against them and they will still undergo counseling," she said, adding that once the violator received the citation ticket, they should return it within three to five days.
Villareiz said in order to strengthen their campaign against smoking, they will be training and orienting barangay officials and deputized persons like market masters and inspectors and volunteers on the new ordinance and issuance of ticket.
"The enforcement of the law is good but there are places that we haven't checked yet so we will do this to strengthen the enforcement," she said.
They will also be holding a meeting today (Tuesday) with the Davao City Police Office to discuss issues and improvements in the enforcement of the law.
ASTF also reported that they have inspected a total of 1,468 establishment to determine its compliance to the law while 237 were newly approved smoke-free establishments and 16 have approved smoking areas.
A total of 612 stores were given permits to sell cigarettes while 18 were prohibited to sell due to its proximity to schools and 15 stores were removed of outdoor cigarette advertisements.
In terms of their public awareness campaign, they conducted lectures in four schools, 15 in national government offices, and 68 in communities. A total of 4,233 students were oriented and 43 individuals became newly registered advocates. They have also distributed a total of 100 smoker's body posters and placed 200 I Support stickers at vehicles.
The city has received a total of four awards for its anti-smoking campaign: 2013 Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance Award as the "First Smoke-free City in the Asean;" 2012 Hall of Famer DOH Red Orchid Award for 100% Tobacco Free Local Government Unit; 2009 Global Smokefree Partnership Award for a Governmental Body for ASTF for exceptional leadership and commitment to further smoke-free polices and; the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance Award.