Lights out: Davao earns P1M in smoke ban fines

Jan. 21, 2014

by Tyrone A. Velez

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY—Davao City’s expanded anti-smoking ordinance passed last July not only reduced cases of tobacco-related disease, but also earned the city added revenues through fines.

Dr. Domilyn Villareiz, chief of the Anti-Smoking Task Force of Davao City said that 3,690 violators were issued violation citation tickets since June 2013 and were fined P500 for smoking in public places, in which the city earned a total of P955,000 in collection of fines.

The Task Force also reported that ailments attributed to smoking showed a decrease in the past years, citing that only 44 persons were afflicted with lung cancer, compared to 2012’s 100 cases, and deaths at 103, which was 10 cases less than in 2012. Villareiz also said that chronic bronchitis afflicted 1,008 and heart diseases around 620.

Since 2002, when the first anti-smoking ordinance was passed, some 12,000 violators had been apprehended. The expanded anti-smoking ordinance passed last year included banning smoking indoors not just in public places.

Davao’s track record is significant as the first smoke-free city among ASEAN nations, in a citation given last year by the Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

The country has an estimated 17 million smokers and sees an average of 10 tobacco-related deaths every hour from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and emphysema.

SEATCA director Bungon Rithiphakdee said around 2.4 million per year die of tobacco-related deaths in Asia or 6,575 deaths per day. “Despite this grim fact, the tobacco industry is pushing to increase its market and profits in the region, spelling more diseases and deaths, particularly for our poor and underprivileged,” Rithiphakdee added.

In its press statement sent to Davao Today timed for its 2,000-strong march rally against the international tobacco expo in Manila last year’s March, SEATCA called on the government to strictly monitor the international expo trade, Protobex and Intertabac gathering and ensure that these will not promote tobacco products to the general public, in violation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

SEATCA said the tobacco industry is looking at the Philippines as an important tobacco market and aggressively working on penetrating the Asian market as the tobacco industry is being marginalized in the developed.

In Davao City, the Task force ranked the units that issued the most number of citation tickets to violators are from the Mobile Police Group, Talomo Police Precinct, San Pedro and Sta. Ana Police Precincts.

Villariez said violators were given citation tickets and upon payment at the Ctiy Treasurer’s Office, they would be subject to counseling at the District Health Office.

Villariez clarified that establishments can seek exemption with the Task Force by applying for a smoking zone, provided that this would be established outdoors with a distance of 10 meters away from establishments.

She said some 20 establishments in Davao, particularly hotels, have applied for smoking zones, but she advised them to renew their zones every year to be subjected for assessment.

But even with this accomplishment, Villareiz said the Task Force would still want to further enforce the law by allowing more agencies to be deputized to monitor and issue citations to violators.

She also said the Task Force would like to tap local medical association chapters and schools to conduct education especially among the youth. (

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