By Chito Chavez
In support of President Duterte’s drive against tobacco use in nondesignated smoking areas, the Quezon City government has imposed sanctions against its errant personnel violating the restriction.
Quezon City hall employees found smoking inside the premises of the city hall premises will be penalized in accordance with Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular 17-2009 and Republic Act 9211 known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.
Penalty of suspension for more than 30 days, or fine in an amount exceeding 30 days’ salary, demotion in rank or salary or transfer, removal or dismissal from office can be imposed if one is caught smoking.
First district councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. cautioned all departments including city elected officials to strictly follow the order as it does not exempt them from the provision.
“The law should apply to all,’’ Ferrer said.
The City Health Department also requested the Department of Building Official to require buildings, private or public, to provide designated smoking areas (DSA) as a prerequisite in securing business permits and licenses.
However, if the establishment provides education, social services and locations in which fire hazards are present, hospitals and health centers and public conveyances and terminals, a DSA cannot be put up.
Under the law, the Quezon City Hall is not allowed to build a DSA since it offers social services, education and health services.
Further, vendors are not allowed to peddle cigarettes within the compound.
A smoking cessation clinic, including a Quit Line, will also be established in the city government-owned hospitals for smokers who want to stub out.
Through Executive Order 28A-2017, Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista has created the Smoke-Free Task Force to reinforce and monitor the implementation of total smoking ban in public places and conveyances, private and public buildings.
“The QC SFTF [is directed] to enforce and ensure compliance with the requirements and standards of [antismoking] laws, presidential executive orders and city ordinances and shall conduct visitations and monitor covered areas, structures, and locations, and apprehend violators and cause the filing of appropriate legal actions and proceedings against them with due regard to the requirements of due process of law,” the EO read.