Philippines: Baguio goes after vapers: fine, community service, or blood donation?

Those who fail to pay the penalties will face cases, Mayor Benjamin Magalong writes in his demand letter to those caught by the Smoke-free Task Force

17 February 2020
Frank Cimatu

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – One vaper was caught at T. Alonzo Street in Baguio City last February 3 by barangay tanods (village watchmen).

Asked to pay the fine in cash or in kind, he chose the latter.

One of the options was to donate blood, and the vaper has Type A blood, which is one of the rarer types here. So the next day, he gladly donated blood to Red Cross Baguio.

From June 2019 to February 2020, a totla of 3,627 persons have been apprehended for smoking or vaping in public or in restricted spaces.

Of these, only 625 or 17% paid their fines, which amounted to P1,000 each for the first offense.

Those who can’t afford have the option of serving 8 hours of community work. In 2020, Baguio’s Smoke-Free Task Force agreed on blood donation as part of the payment.

There were 1,152 establishments caught alllowing smoking in their areas; only 544 complied with the penalties.

The Public Order and Safety Division enforcement unit under Security Officer II Daryll Longid asked the Smoke-free Task Force to go after those who promised to pay but didn’t.

So last Valentine’s Day, the task force started sending demand letters signed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong to those who had furnished the enforcement unit with their complete addresses. As for those with incomplete addresses, the task force asked their barangay officials to deliver the demand letters.

“You are expected to comply and pay the said penalty within 5 working days from receipt of letter. Your refusal to pay or comply with the law within the given period will constrain the city to file appropriate cases and exercise all other legal remedies against you,” Mayor Magalong wrote.



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