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Visitors beware | VRU: 600 of 3,200 nabbed smokers are tourists, visitors

More than 600 tourists and visitors were among the 3,200 violators apprehended and penalized for violating the Anti-Smoking Ordinance in the first quarter of 2019, data from the City Vices Regulation Unit (VRU) revealed.

With the growing economy of the city, VRU Anti-smoking Task Force chief Dr. Ashley Lopez said influx of migrants and tourists is unavoidable “so every now and then we get to see new people coming in who are not aware of our existing laws and ordinances.”

“That is why, consistently, we are trying to push our educational campaign particularly on anti-smoking. We distribute flyers and we keep updating our billboards and posters so that everyone will be aware,” Lopez said during recent I-Speak media forum.

Compared to the number of apprehensions in the same quarter last year, there is an increase of 60% of anti-smoking violators. VRU is expecting the numbers to continuously increase up to 12,000 by the end of 2019.

Lopez explained that aside from the increasing number of migrants and tourists, the rise of apprehensions can also be attributed to their intensified campaign against anti-smoking especially their 24/7 enforcement.

Lopez said they are currently in talks with the Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSCC) for its plan to train 3,800 barangay tanods in the city “so we can address the problem down to the barangay level.” He said this initiative would make their anti-smoking operations easier and would maximize the entire implementation.

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