Smoking ban in all public areas of Metro Manila starts Monday, May 30

(SPOT.ph) Beginning Monday, May 30, smoking will be prohibited in public areas all over the Metro, reports ABS-CBN News. The ban encompasses bus terminals, waiting sheds, schools, hospitals, public utility vehicles and other public recreational areas. It is implemented by officers from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and in 17 local government units.

MMDA chair Francis Tolentino told GMA News that the ban is in accordance with Republic Act 9211 (Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003), smoking prohibitions of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and local ordinances promoting the same cause.

According to a GMA report, violators will be fined P500 on first offense; those unable to pay will serve eight hours of community service. "We must be very strict in implementing our anti-smoking regulation. We want the MMDA to become a model government agency in terms of compliance with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) policy," said Tolentino, referring to CSC's order to ban smoking in government offices.

On Monday, Tolentino, the 17 mayors, and LTFRB chair Nelson Laluces will officially launch the "100% Smoke-Free Metro Manila" at the MMDA headquarters in Makati City, reports GMA. They will sign a commitment contract affirming a united goal-a smoke-free Metro Manila by 2012. Incidentally, May 30 is the eve of World No Tobacco Day. New York-based Bloomberg Philanthropies also approved a P9.5-million grant in support for the program.

The Philippine Tobacco Institute, however, is against some of the provisions of the ban. While it agrees smoking should be verboten in schools, hospitals and public facilities, they argued that roads are not listed in RA9211. According to ABS-CBN News, they are hoping that MMDA will reconsider their campaign.

"We’ll be launching an information campaign so people will know that smoking will be prohibited in certain areas of main roads of the metropolis," said Dr. Loida Alzona, division chief of MMDA’s public health safety and environment protection in the ABS-CBN report.

For more on this story, log on to ABS-CBN News and GMA News.

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