BAGUIO CITY -- The city’s anti-smoking task force caught a total of 2,633 violators from January to end-October, the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) said in a report on Tuesday.
“The city was able to collect a fine of PHP1,634,000 during the period,” POSD supervisor Joel Belinanin said a press conference here.
With the city's strict implementation of the anti-smoking ordinance, the task force had earlier reported that from January to May 2018, a total of 822 individuals and business establishments were caught violating the law and were made to pay the fines.
Ordinance 34-2017 or the “Smoke-free Baguio” ordinance prohibits the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain places, imposing penalties, and allotting corresponding funds. It took effect in May 2017.
Under the ordinance, an individual violator pays a minimum of PHP1,000; PHP2,000; and PHP3,000 for the first to third offense, respectively.
An establishment will be fined PHP2,000; PHP3,000; and PHP5000 for the first to third offense, plus revocation of business license.
In May 2017, a year after the ordinance took effect, there were 1,384 caught for violations of its provisions, doubling the number in a span of five months.
Belinan said the POSD has been making the rounds, monitoring establishments and public places, especially those near school premises, together with the city's Smoke-Free Task Force.
He said a total 1,281 violators paid the penalty ranging from PHP1,000 to PHP5,000 for the first to third offense. Others opted to render community service, cleaning the streets at the central business district or at the city market.
There were also 941 violators, who failed to settle their penalties, but who were made to leave their valid identification cards. These were forwarded to the city legal office for appropriate action.
Aside from individuals, there were 217 establishments found to have violated the ordinance.
To boost the implementation of the ordinance, Mayor Mauricio Domogan issued Administrative Order (AO) 136 on September 8 to set up community and district task forces to implement the anti-smoking ordinance in barangays outside of the central business district.
Councilor Joel Alangsab, author of the anti-smoking ordinance, said that with the strict implementation of the “Smoke-Free Baguio," the city hopes to get its first Red Orchid Award from the Department of Health (DOH).
The Red Orchid Award is the DOH’s search among government hospitals, offices, and local government units (LGUs) that implement a 100-percent tobacco-free environment and meet the quality standards on tobacco prevention and control set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Aimed to combat smoking, the "Red Orchid" is the highest award in the search for tobacco-free environment, followed by the “Pink Orchid" award for the second place and the "White Orchid" award for the third spot.
Alangsab said the task force will go on with its job of implementing the city government's campaign to make Baguio City a non-smoking zone to protect its citizens and tourists' health. (PNA)