At last, the government learned how to use some political will and implement laws. But why it took them several years to strictly implement it? Are they trying to impress people after the Aquino administration, especially President Noynoy Aquino himself, received a barely passing mark from different sectors?
Republic Act No. 9211 or AN ACT REGULATING THE PACKAGING, USE, SALE DISTRIBUTION AND ADVERTISEMENTS OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES was signed into law on June 23, 2003.
Sec. 5. Smoking in Public Places – Smoking shall be absolutely prohibited in the following public places:
a. Centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for persons under eighteen (18) years old;
b. Elevator and stairwells;
c. Location in which fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials;
d. Within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals. Medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories;
e. Public conveyance and public facilities including airport and ship terminals and train and bus stations, restaurant and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas; and
f. Food preparation areas.
Sec. 6. Designated Smoking And Non-Smoking Areas – In all enclosed places that are open to the general public, private workplaces, and other places not covered under the preceding section, where smoking may expose a person to the other than the smoker to tobacco smoke, the owner, proprietor, possessor, manager or administrator of such places shall establish smoking areas. Such areas may include a designated smoking area within the building, which may be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation, but shall not be located within the same room that has been designated as a non-smoking area.
All designated smoking areas shall at least one (1) legible and visible sign posted, namely “SMOKING AREA” for the Information and guidance of all concerned. In addition, the sign or not posted shall include a warning about the health effects of direct or secondhand exposure to tobacco smoke. Non-smoking areas shall likewise have at least one (1) legible and visible sign, namely: “NO SMOKING AREA” or “NO SMOKING”.
Ban on smoking in public places should not be use as political gimmick. It is a law. Therefore, everyone living in the country should follow.
I had an encounter with a lady, who I think is in her early 20s sometime this year. I was riding an ordinary bus with my two kids, a 3-year old and a 5-month old, and that lady embarked from somewhere then she sat few seat apart from us. She suddenly lit her cigarette and I reminded her not to do so it since it is unlawful and there are kids in the bus. She did not mind me. I was agitated. She said she don’t follow any law. I asked her to come with me at the police station. She refused then throw away her cigarette.
See how stupid some Filipinos are? They are not afraid of the law since it was not strictly implemented. Even some of the law enforcers themselves ignored the existing laws
Maybe, the penalties for such violations are not enough to scare them.
Sec. 32. Penalties – The following penalties shall apply:
a. Violation of Sections 5 and 6. – On the first offense, a fine of not less than Five Hundred Pesos (Php500.00) but not more than One Thousand (Php1,000.00) shall be imposed.
On the second offense, a fine of not less than One Thousand Pesos (Php1,000.00) but not more than Five Thousand Pesos (Php5,000.00) shall be imposed.
On the third offense, in addition to a fine of not less than Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) but not more than Ten Thousand pesos (Php10,000.00), the business permits and licenses to operate shall be cancelled or revoked.
I just hope that this campaign now would last.