By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong assured his full support to the city’s smoke-free campaign and to the enforcers implementing the smoke-free ordinance.
Magalong heads the Smoke-Free Task Force which spearheads the city’s campaign anchored on the ordinance.
In recent meeting, the task force members led by Tobacco Control Officer Donnabel Tubera of the City Health Services Office and Smoke-Free Project Team Leader Cecille Agpawa updated the mayor on the developments in the drive as well as plans and targets set for the coming years.
Magalong lauded the group for its achievements so far and promised all-out support, especially to the enforcers experiencing harassment in the conduct of their duties.
“Any problem or concern especially if you feel threatened or anything, call on me. As the chairman of the task force, I will personally take care of it,” Magalong said.
The mayor signed the deputation order of 92 more enforcers to augment the 311 commissioned earlier to enforce the ordinance.
Tubera said 535 individuals and 133 establishments have been arrested for violating the ordinance from January to May this year, resulting in the collection of P304,000 in fines.
Last year, a total of 5,258 were apprehended and P2.590 million in fines collected. “More than the monetary aspect, we give premium to the impact of these apprehensions on the health of the city’s residents,” she said.
The barangay officials who have been commissioned to implement the ordinance in their areas of jurisdiction have also been taking an active part in the campaign despite the problems encountered.
Enforcers said harassment has been one of the main problems being encountered in the implementation of the ordinance.