Naval lawmaker pushes for smoke-free town

NAVAl, Biliran, Jan. 27 (PIA) – Being a doctor by profession, Gabino Sabonsolin Velasquez IV, reelected Sangguniang Bayan member of Naval, pushes for a smoke-free town knowing that seven of the 10 leading causes of death in the Philippines is attributed to smoking.

 In an interview during the Kapihan at Pulong-Pulong ng Bayan over Radyo Natin – Naval, Dr. Gabby Velasquez, the principal proponent of said law explained the contents of Municipal Ordinance No. 03-2010 also known as The Smoke Free Ordinance of the Municipality of Naval, an ordinance regulating and prohibiting the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarette and other tobacco products in certain places of the Municipality of Naval, imposing penalties for violations thereof and providing funds therefore, and for other purposes.


Despite the benefits of the tariff these cigarettes are bringing to government coffers, this cannot compensate the harm it brings to the health of the people much more to those who don’t smoke.


Doc Gabby cited the basis of the ordinance such as the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines which states that the state shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.


Under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Philippines is determined to give priority to the right to protect public health and to promote measures of tobacco control based on current and relevant scientific, technical, and economic considerations and agreed to implement the measures provided in the treaty.


The Local Government Code of 1991 or RA No. 7160 accords every local government unit powerand authority to promote the general welfare within its territorial jurisdiction, including the promotion of health and safety of its constituents.


The Philippines Clean Air Act of 1999 or or RA 8749 declares the right of every citizen to breathe clean air, prohibits smoking inside enclosed public places including public vehicles and other means of transport, and directs local government units to implement this provision.


The Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 or RA No. 9211 prohibits smoking in certain public places whether enclosed or outdoors; prohibits the purchase and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products from and to minors and in certain places frequented by minors; imposes bans and restrictions on advertising, promotion, and sponsorship activities of tobacco companies; and directs local government units to implement these provision.


All these laws directing the local government units to implement these provision, gave birth to the enactment of Ordinance No. 03-2010 which the municipality of Naval will launch on February 7.


Before its formal launching, the LGU of Naval has been into talks with sellers particularly those within the 100-meter radius from schools, school authorities and students, and soon with drivers of public utility vehicles for total awareness of the ordinace.


Upon full implementation of the law, penalties and community services are imposed to violators. (PIA Biliran)

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