DAVAO CITY, Philippines – To implement stricter anti-smoking regulation in the city, the Anti-Smoking Task Force would tap barangay officials to beef up its education drive to the barangay level.
“My action plan as of now is on campaign, first [by] going to the barangay level,” Capt. Voltaire Engracia ,co-chair of Anti-Smoking Task Force in Davao, said Thursday.
Engracia’s statement came after the five-year implementation of City Executive Order No. 4 or the New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Davao City since 2012, has seen problem on its implementation.
“The problem is it did not immerse to the barangay level,” Engracia said. “Once we are able to bring it to the barangay level, it would bring big impact because they (local leaders) are there (to help).”
At present, Engracia said his office is designing a framework as to how this plan would be implemented.
“We are getting their (local leaders) contacts and building the network. Communication is important for the implementation,” he said.
The EO 4 prohibits individuals to smoke in public places, open areas, or private buildings which is not declared as designated areas for smoking.
The designated smoking areas which are a five-square-meter space, as stated on the EO4, are required to be 10 meters away from entrance of any establishment or from people passing by, and should be placed outside.
A “No Smoking” sign and educational facts about the bad effects of smoking must be placed on the designated smoking areas.
Aside from the education drive, Engracia said that they would tap the local leaders of the barangays to be able to set up designated smoking areas in the barangay.
“In rural areas, the stores that sell cigarettes are interconnected, that is where the DSA would be placed,” he said.
If the city government could not find a place to set up a DSA in a community, Engracia said that “it is up to the barangay to decide where to place the DSA if the community is really crowded.”
As stated on the EO4, the fines for those caught violating the anti-smoking ordinance would pay P1,000 or one-month imprisonment for the first offense, P2,500 or two-months imprisonment for the second offense, and P5,000 or four months imprisonment for the third and subsequent offences.
The violators could also face both penalties at the discretion of the court. For this “stricter” implementation of anti-smoking ordinance, Engracia said they would not be raising up the fines as penalties do not define effective implementation of the ordinance.
“We do not need to raise the penalty, it is on the implementation, let us make the system work by immersing the implementation down to the barangay level,” he said.
Violators who are still underaged or minors were to be referred to the City Social Service Development Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development, City Health Office, and to the local barangay unit for the counseling.
Meanwhile, Engracia, a retired military officer, said that he is glad to active as public servant again being part of the Anti-Smoking Task Force which would be part of their umbrella organization, Vice Regulating Unit.
The VRU, which is the new Executive Order of Mayor Sara Duterte would be effective after her maternal leave this coming April 3.
This will regulate ordinances not just covering the anti-smoking ordinance, but also the liquor ban and prohibition of selling liquor to minors. (davaotoday.com)