KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/24 January) – The city government declared the entire city hall complex here Tuesday as a “no smoking zone” as it launched an intensified campaign for the full enforcement of the country’s anti-smoking law in the area.
Mayor Peter Miguel said they issued the declaration to set an example among other government and private establishments to abide by the prohibition against smoking in public places as provided for under Republic Act (RA) 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 ,and a local anti-smoking ordinance.
“It’s our responsibility to implement this law and it should start in our own home,” he said.
As part of the campaign, Miguel said they will also enforce such prohibition later on in other city government offices and facilities, including the city’s main and satellite public markets.
Under RA 9211, smoking is prohibited in all public places or enclosed and confined areas such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, public transport terminals and offices, private and public offices and
buildings, recreational places, shopping malls, movie houses, hotels, restaurants, among others.
It mandated owners, proprietors, operators, possessors, managers or administrators of such establishments to assign a specific smoking area, which may be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation.
As penalty, violators may be slapped with a fine of P500 to P1,000 for first offense, and which may increase up to P10,000 for succeeding incursions. Owners of erring establishments may also face revocation or cancellation of their business permits and licenses.
Miguel said they have designated a smoking area outside the city hall building in compliance with the anti-smoking law.
But he said they’re hoping that the campaign would eventually encourage the “smokers” among their employees as well as local residents to quit from such vice and lead healthy lifestyles.
“Smoking had been proven as among the top causes of many health problems, including various forms of cancer. So it’s really an expensive vice that only leads to serious harm in the long run,” said Miguel, who is a doctor.
He urged the “smokers” among the city government’s work force not to hesitate in seeking help even from him should they decide to quit smoking.
“Should they need our assistance for counseling, medical help in case they exhibit withdrawal symptoms or any other related support, we are very much willing to provide them,” the mayor assured.
Last year, the provincial government of South Cotabato started the full implementation of the smoking prohibition in all its offices and facilities in compliance with RA 9211.
At the South Cotabato provincial hospital, officials designated an open space near the hospital’s morgue as smoking area to emphasize its health perils. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)