World looking at Davao City for anti-smoking strategy

Subscribe Now June 21, 2013 at 05:10pm

The world is now looking at Davao City.

This is according to Department of Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag M.D. who said that Davao City is attracting international attention because the city has the biggest potential to show the world of putting an endgame strategy against smoking.

Endgame is a situation where smoking or tobacco is totally eradicated.

Davao City is a hall-of-famer of the Red Orchid Award. The award recognizes cities, municipalities, government offices and health facilities that are strictly enforcing tobacco control measures.

It first implemented its comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance in 2002 and gained fame for its vigorous implementation 11 years after it amended and implemented its 2002 ordinance providing stricter laws and expanding its coverage.

Tayag said that Davao City's successes lies with the political will of the local government. "If you really want it, you can do it," the DOH assistant secretary said during the Red Orchid Awards regional leg held June 20 at SMX Davao.

He said the challenge now for Davao City as raised by the World Health Organization is to implement the endgame strategy against tobacco.

Councilor Bernard Al-Ag 3rd District City Councilor and one of the principal sponsor of the amended anti-smoking ordinance (City Ordinance 0367-12) said that as a legislator he is willing to support any city legislation which will put in place an endgame strategy against smoking and tobacco.

He said the expanded anti-smoking ordinance is the right step in having an endgame strategy.

Among the salient features of the expanded ordinance include the banning of new forms of smoking like e-cigarettes and sishas, expanding the definition of public spaces to include streets and the provision of citation tickets which cuts the process of putting fines against violators. Smoking citations lets deputized enforcers issue citations to violators where they can pay the fine directly.

The past ordinance had the violators hauled to the courts where they are sentenced and fined. The citations will also provide the revenues to the City.

According to Dr. Domilyn Villareiz Davao City Anti-Smoking Task Force chair, since the expanded anti-smoking ordinance took effect last May 31, 2013 the city netted 726 violators. If those caught will pay the fine of P500, the city would earn P300,000 from the citation tickets just for the first two weeks alone.

Villareiz said that the number of violators shall not be a source of pride since this means there are still many people who are smoking in public places.

She also said that being a Red Orchid Hall-of-Famer will not be a reason to be complacent. Villareiz assured that under the new city leadership of incoming City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte the efforts against smoking will still continue without let-up.


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