ASEAN countries to observe smoking ban in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 April) – Member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will visit the city in the second week of July to observe the implementation of its anti-smoking ordinance, Dr. Domilyn Villareiz, co-chairperson of the Anti-Smoking Task Force, said Monday.

She said the other ASEAN countries have anti-smoking policies but are not strictly enforced, adding that Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos also visited here in June last year for the same purpose.

“We have to make sure that Davao will become a model of anti-smoking campaign,” she added.

The city government will mark the 11th anniversary of its anti-smoking campaign on May 31 at the Rizal Park, she said.

On the same day the city will launch its New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance, replacing the ordinance passed in 2002.

Villareiz said the new ordinance will not be in conflict with Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.

She pointed out that it can respond to emerging tobacco products, including the sisha or water pipes and electronic cigarettes.

She cited that selling of cigarettes in accommodation, entertainment and public establishments will be prohibited by the new ordinance.

In addition, the ban on smoking will now include indoor areas, and managers of establishments will be issued citation tickets if found lenient in implementing the ordinance, Villareiz said.

The Anti-Smoking Task Force eyed the new ordinance as “income generating” as “it is easier to enforce” with the issuance of citation tickets, she said.

She said a violator who admits to his or her violation shall pay P500 for his or her first offense and attend a seminar.

But if a violator denies violating the law, he or she shall be charged with an administrative case, the same thing that shall be imposed on second- or third-time violators, Villareiz said.

The fines will go direct to the city’s general fund not to the national coffers, she said. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)