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city steps up smoking prohibition as mayor calls for amendment of ordinance

BAGUIO CITY – The city government will fortify the implementation of the smoking prohibition within its premises even as Mayor Mauricio Domogan called for the strengthening of the city’s anti-smoking ordinance.
The mayor said the city council should amend Ordinance No. 8 series of 2008 or the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Baguio City and its Implementing Rules and Regulations to clarify the definition of public places where smoking is supposed to be banned as the seeming vague definition led to the acquittal of one violator by the courts recently.
He said this grey area has to be resolved to make the ordinance effective.
The mayor last June 14 issued the implementing guidelines for the imposition of anti-smoking measure pursuant to CSC Memorandum Circular No. 17 series of 2009 entitled Smoking Prohibition Based on 100-Percent Smoke-free Environment Policy.
The memorandum reinforces the city ordinance which the city government has also been observing.
In his Administrative Order No. 73, the mayor said the guidelines follow the guiding principle that a healthy workplace is a productive workplace where smokers are encouraged to quit, people are protected from exposure to second-hand smoke, health care costs are lowered and clean-up costs are reduced.
The rules apply to all officials and employees along with the people entering city government offices for any transaction.
Under the guidelines, the city mayor will designate a smoking area based on requirements, cause the posting of smoking area signs and decide cases that may arise.
An implementation committee will be formed with the following duties: assign a focal person per department to act as policy enforcer; investigate complaints and reports of violations; determine whether there is a prima facie case; recommend appropriate action to the city mayor; maintain records of violations and ensure that the designated smoking area complies with the requirements.
The guidelines also cover the handling of complaints and disciplinary action or sanctions where first-time offenders face suspension for one to six months and dismissal for second-time violators.
The city has been conducting orientation or dissemination on the memorandum through a series of orientation seminars among employees. – A Refuerzo

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