It is but normal to behold cigarette smokers and peddlers peppering the busy and dusty streets of Manila. But weeks from now, puffing ciggies will become a punishable act as ordered by the Manila City Hall.
The strict enforcement will officially start on July 1, 2011. Manilans will face a dressing down regardless of age and societal status.
Mayor Alfredo Lim said in his speech that “(smokers) from top to bottom, from the highest ranking official down to the janitor, all will be apprehended.”
Having said this, it is important to note that not even juveniles can escape corresponding discipline. Universities situated in Manila territory, including UST, will adhere to this campaign. Campus authorities will tie up with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for a large scale ban enforcement.
According to Manila Police, minors will receive a warning note and a trip to the guidance counselor’s office where their parents would be informed of their offense. On worst cases, they will have to perform community service.
However, age violators will “face the penalty of paying a fine, imprisonment, as well as administrative sanctions,” Lim said.
Manila’s move is based on Republic Act No. 9211 (the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003) and an existing City Ordinance No. 7748 , which prohibits smoking in all enclosed places like hospitals, schools, public buildings , shopping malls, theaters, warehouses and factories, public utility vehicles and other pubic conveyances operating in the city.
Although a smoking ban within UST campus has been around for a couple of years, there are still some notable smoking hot spots in the vicinity such as Dapitan and Antonio streets near the rear entrances of the university.
Students and faculty members are now being advised to refrain from doing “yosi breaks” outside the university to avoid any problems with the authorities.
By Anna Bettina B. Pangalangan