Issue of February 4, 2018
Mt. Province

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186 arrested for violating Baguio City smoking ban
by Aileen P. Refuerzo / PIO

Elements of the City Public Order and Safety Division of the City Mayor’s Office arrested 186 violators of the Smoke-Free Ordinance from August 2017 to Jan. 31 this year.

In a report submitted to Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Smoke-Free Baguio Task Force chair, the POSD headed by Paul Cambod said that of the 186 violators, 90 paid the penalties, 41 were turned over to Baguio City Police station 7 for further action, 48 failed to pay their penalties, and seven opted to render community service by picking up garbage and cleaning within the vicinity of Block 4 at the public market.

Six of those arrested were minors and 26 were from other places. They were arrested within the city business district, mostly at the public market.

A total of P91,000 was collected as fees pursuant to Ordinance No. 34 s. 2017.

City Tobacco Control Officer Donnabel Tubera said the city government deputized 72 personnel, 60 of them from POSD, to assist the Baguio City Police Office and the task force in enforcing the law.

Aside from chasing smoke ban violators, the POSD is also tasked to implement laws on anti-peddling, anti-littering, and anti-jaywalking, among other responsibilities.

The Smoke-Free Ordinance, approved in April last year, prohibits the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products in public utility vehicles, government-owned vehicles (mobile and stationary), accommodation and entertainment establishments, public buildings, public places, enclosed public places, or any enclosed areas outside one’s private residence or private place of work except in designated smoking areas.

The ordinance prohibits smoking or vaping in public places, workplaces, public conveyances, or other public places except in designated smoking areas.

Included in the prohibited acts in the ordinance are “allowing, abetting, or tolerating smoking or vaping in accommodation establishments,” smoking inside government-owned or PUV whether moving or stationary or while waiting for passengers; selling or distributing and purchasing tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) to and from minors or ordering them to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise or promote tobacco and ENDS products;

Selling or distributing tobacco products and/or ENDS in a school, public playground or other facility frequented by minors, offices of the Department of Health; and attached agencies, hospitals, and health facilities or within 100 meters from these places, government facilities.

The ordinance also prohibits placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisements and promotional materials of tobacco products or ENDS within an establishment covered by the ban; conducting promotional activities, campaigns, events, product sampling and the like in establishments covered; and displaying and placing tobacco products and ENDS in open store shelves except in opaque and single-colored storage.

It also prohibits facilitation, participation, or partnership engaged by any government official or personnel in any form of contribution, sponsorship, or corporate social responsibility activity by the tobacco company in the city.

Violators face fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 with options to render community service.

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