Davao’s anti-smoking ordinance impresses visitors

September 6, 2009 9:57 pm 

DAVAO CITY, Sept. 7 – The city’s anti-smoking ordinance has impressed the members of the Thailand’s Action on Smoking and Health Foundation during their recent visit in the city.

The group led by its executive secretary, Professor Prakit Vathesogkit, had a dialogue with the Anti-Smoking Task Force of Davao City to see if there are gaps in the implementation of the ordinance against smoking.

“We wanted to observe how Davao City government acts on the smoke-free campaign,” Vathesogkit said, saying that Thailand passed the smoke-free law in 1992.

“We hope we could gain a lesson after the study,” Vathesogkit said.

Thailand is the second country to visit the city to study its implementation of the smoking ordinance, Vietnam was the first.

In the meeting with local officials with co-chair of the task force, Dr. Domilyn C. Villareiz, told the visitors that the police had apprehended 690 violators from January until July this year and 1,800 violators last year.

The task force, chaired by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, was created by Executive Order 26 after the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Davao City took effect in 2002.

“As of two weeks ago, the police had recently apprehended more than 50 violators and most of them pleaded guilty. However, we would not do physical apprehension as we would not embarrass the offenders,” said Marvin Melodias, a member of the task force.

“We just book them and file them directly to the Regional Trial Court,” he said.

He said authorities conduct periodic and random inspections and another 300 traffic enforcers will be deputized in order to help enforce the ordinance.

The official also noticed a shift in the manner businesses follow the ordinance as more smoke-free establishments have emerged from the previous smoke-regulated ones.

However, he admitted the tobacco industries are still devising strategies to sell more cigarettes by recruiting beautiful women.

After the presentations, the visitors were impressed by the efficiency of implementation of the ordinance.

“I see that the enforcers here are stronger than the enforcers in Thailand,” Vathesogkit said. (PNA) FFC/JSGD/lvp

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