ORMOC CITY-The local government of Ormoc City is bent in making it as one of the very few cities in the country where public smoking is banned.
And this early, Mayor Richard Gomez issued a warning to visitors who will come to the city during their annual fiesta next month not to smoke in public.
Otherwise, they will be charged for violating their ordinance against public smoking, the mayor said.
“If they want to smoke, they have to smoke outside (the city proper) and then balik na sila dito,” he said.
The city is to celebrate its annual fiesta on June 29 with thousands of visitors expected to visit Ormoc and witness its fiesta-related activities like its Piña Festival.
Violators of the city’s anti-smoking ordinance (Ordinance Number 35), approved in 2014, imposes a penalty of P500 up to P1,500, depending on the number of violations committed.
The intensified campaign against anti-smoking of the city government is also anchored under Republic Act 9211, otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 which prohibits smoking in public and selling of cigarettes to minors.
Gomez, who is an actor and athlete, said that by intensifying on their anti-smoking campaign, they could help their people achieve good health saying that smoking can cause cancer and other diseases.
“Our end goal here is to make our citizens healthy. We know the bad effects of smoking as it causes lung cancer and other diseases,” he said.
The city mayor, however, could not say if smoking is among the leading causes of deaths in Ormoc City.
But he was quick to say that their campaign only involves those smoking in public places as smokers could still smoke at their homes or in public places like restaurants which have designated smoking areas.
As part of their campaign, Gomez had led ‘Operation: Baklas’ wherein advertisements and other promotional campaign on cigarettes placed 100 meters away from schools and other public places like plazas were taken down which are frequented by minors.
Members of its city police are also directed to enforce both the city ordinance and national law on public smoking.