Tagbilaran’s proposed “Comprehensive Smoke-Free Ordinance eyes monitoring focus on smoking venues as a means to efficiently get results in the effort to protect the public from second-hand smoking.
Noticeable among the proposed penalties laid down is the one-week to one-month suspension of the business permits of establishments that would fail to comply with the requirements set to limit the consumption of tobacco products and e-cigarettes.
It was presented during the public hearing for the proposed smoking ban ordinance on Thursday last week that the license or permit to sell tobacco products or to operate of any establishment or of any public conveyance covered shall be suspended for at least one week but not more than one month, or revoked if it fails to perform the necessary action within 15 days upon receipt of violation notice or fail to pay within seven working days the corresponding penalty as stated in the citation ticket for the violation committed.
It is proposed that the license or permit of violating establishments that fall outside of the jurisdiction of the respective Local Government Unit (LGU), the recommendation for revocation or suspension of license/permit shall be forwarded to the appropriate LGU, agency or governing body.
The suspension or revocation of the license/permit of the erring establishment or public conveyance shall only be lifted once all the requirements set forth upon re-inspection and evaluation of the Health Office, Building/Engineering Office, Business Permits and Licensing Office and/ or the appropriate agency or governing body has been fully complied with.
Moreover, any task force member may recommend the revocation or suspension of license or permit of an erring establishment to the appropriate office.
Among the punishable acts are selling or distributing tobacco products or e-cigarettes in a school, public playground or other facility frequented by minors, offices of the Department of Health (DOH) and attached agencies, hospitals and health facilities, or within 100 meters from any point in the perimeter of these places.
For those caught smoking or vaping outside the designated smoking areas will be fined P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for second offense and P2,500 for the third and subsequent offenses or imprisonment for a period that would be set later in the deliberations of the City Council.
Penalties for violation of the proposed provision on sales or access restriction and advertising and promotions ban is set at P2,000 for first offense, P3,000 for second offense and P5,000 or imprisonment for a period that is still to be deliberated for the third offense.
If the violator is a business entity or establishment, the penalty for the third offense is suspension or revocation of business license or permit.
Prohibited acts under the proposed provision on sales or access restriction and advertising and promotions ban include selling or distributing tobacco products and, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) or e-cigarettes to minors; purchasing tobacco products and, or ENDS to minors; ordering, instructing or compelling a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise or promote tobacco products and, or ENDS.
They also include selling or distributing tobacco products and, or ENDS in a school, public playground or other facility frequented by minors, offices of the Department of Health (DOH) and attached agencies, hospitals and health facilities, or within 100 meters from any point in the perimeter of these places; selling of tobacco products and, or ENDS within premises of a government facility; selling tobacco products and, or ENDS without a municipal permit to sell tobacco products or ENDS; selling of tobacco products and, or ENDS as individual pieces or per stick, or in tobacco product packs containing less than 20 sticks.
Other under the proposed provision on sales or access restriction and advertising and promotions ban are selling tobacco products and, or ENDS removed from its original product packaging or without the proper government-regulated and approved health warning; selling tobacco products and, or ENDS by ambulant or street vendors, including other mobile or temporary stalls, kiosks, stations or units; selling or distributing of sweets, snacks, toys or any other objects in the form of tobacco products which may appeal to minors; placing cinema or outdoor advertisements of tobacco products and, or ENDS; placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products or ENDS, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures and other materials within an establishment when such establishment or its location is prohibited from selling tobacco products and, or ENDS; placing, posting, displaying or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products or ENDS, such as but not limited to leaflets, posters, display structures and other materials that show a tobacco or ENDS brand’s name (including company name), logo or indicia, such as in a point- of- sale establishment, where minors are allowed entry; and conducting promotional activities, campaigns, events, product sampling, and the like, where the establishments or its location is prohibited from selling or unauthorized to sell tobacco products and, or ENDS, and, or where minors are allowed entry; and displaying and placing tobacco products and, or ENDS in open store shelves or racks, except in enclosed, opaque and single-colored storages or containments.
Also proposed under Section 5(r) to be among the prohibited acts are the facilitation, participation or partnership engaged by any government official or personnel, regardless of employment status (permanent, casual, contractual, job order, consultant or special appointment) in any form of contribution, sponsorship or corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity, event, program or project by a tobacco company, tobacco industry front groups, or any representation working to protect tobacco industry interests, executed for or within the territorial jurisdiction of the city government of Tagbilaran, with the aim, effect or likely effect of promoting a tobacco products and, or ENDS, its use either directly or indirectly.
Another penalty proposed is community service for a violator who is “unable to pay the fines imposed, he or she may choose to render community service within the city.
“For every hour of community service rendered, his or her outstanding fine shall be reduced by an amount equivalent to triple the hourly minimum wage (or other computations or fixed amount per hour for the total number of hours needed to be rendered) in the city,” as stated in the proposed ordinance.
Confiscation or Removal means “tobacco products, ENDS and their advertising or promotions paraphernalia associated with any violation of the prohibited acts” in the proposed ordinance “may be subject to confiscation and, or removal”.
It is also proposed that “persons liable who have been apprehended or cited for violation of any of the prohibited acts of [the] Ordinance, except for Section 5 (r), and who do not wish to contest the violation, and is willing to pay voluntarily the administrative penalty imposed upon him/her for the first and second offenses enumerated in Section 8 a. and b. Prior to the filing or formal charges with the proper court shall be allowed to pay the penalty with the City Treasurer’s Office, within five regular business days from apprehension, to avoid being criminally prosecuted. Otherwise the case shall be prosecuted in court. The “No Contest Provision” can no longer be availed for third and subsequent offenses. The proceeds from payment of the herein penalties imposed shall be subject to the provision on funding”.
Section 8(a) states as among the prohibited acts- -smoking or vaping in enclosed or partially enclosed public places, workplaces, public conveyances (whether mobile or stationary), or other public places, except in Designated Smoking Areas duly approved.
It is also proposed the “subsidiary imprisonment may be imposed by the court in the event that the offender, who is found guilty of violating the provision of this Ordinance, is unable to pay the fine which he is sentenced to pay”.
Also included in the list of prohibited acts is “for persons-in-charge to allow, abet or tolerate smoking or vaping in places enumerated in the preceding paragraph, outside of approved Designated Smoking Area”.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod pushes for a smoke-free Tagbilaran in support to the national government’s projection of a smoke-free country.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive order that prohibits smoking in public places nationwide takes effect today.
City Councilor Eliezer Borja proposed the “Comprehensive Smoke-Free Ordinance of the City Government of Tagbilaran” in support to the nationwide smoking ban after an initial study conducted by the SP Committee on Health, Sanitation, and Environmental Protection which he chairs.
Borja led the public hearing on July 20 where they tackled the proposed ordinance entitled, “An Ordinance Prohibiting the Use, Sale, Distribution and Advertisement of Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products, and Electronic Cigarettes, in Certain Places, Imposing Penalties for Violations thereof and Providing Funds therefor, and for other purposes” which will be called the “Comprehensive Smoke-Free Ordinance of the City Government of Tagbilaran”.
Borja explained that it is important to gather inputs from different sectors on how to effectively achieve the purpose of the proposed ordinance, especially that the implementation of the ordinance entails penalty and allocation of funds.
In the proposed provision on the prohibited acts under the eyed “Comprehensive Smoke-Free Ordinance”, Borja suggested that it shall be declared unlawful and prohibited to smoke or vape “in enclosed or partially enclosed public places, workplaces, public conveyances (whether mobile or stationary), or other public places except in designated smoking areas.
Under the proposed ordinance, public places include “all places, fixed or mobile, that are accessible or open to the public or places for collective use, regardless of ownership or right to access”.
Falling under this definition are “schools, workplaces, government facilities, establishments that provide food and drinks, accommodation, merchandise, professional services, entertainment or other services”.
Also considered as public places are “outdoor spaces where facilities are available for the public or where a crowd of people would gather, such as, but not limited to, playgrounds, sports grounds or centers, church ground, health or hospital compounds, transportation terminals, markets, parks, resorts, walkways or sidewalks, entrance ways, waiting areas, and the like”.
“Persons-in-charge” who would “allow, abet or tolerate smoking or vaping in places” outside the approved designated smoking areas will also be liable under the proposed ordinance.