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VRU: Smokers keep violating due to low fines

Anti-smoking advocates in the city are reviving to increase the penalty imposed to violators of the Anti-Smoking Ordinance.

City councilors passed anew on first reading the proposal on Tuesday’s regular session after it lapsed in the previous city council.

The Vices Regulation Unit (VRU), chaired by Dr. Ashley Lopez, forwarded a resolution to the City Council last April 8 to amend the New Comprehensive Anti-smoking Ordinance of the City.

The VRU has proposed amendments to Section 9, which stipulates higher penalties, and Section 15, which stipulates the no-contest provision of the aforementioned ordinance.

Based on the existing ordinance, penalties are P1,000 (first offense) P2,500 (second offense), and P5,000 (third offense).

The VRU suggested to increase the penalty to P2,000 (first offense), P3,000 (second offense), and P5,000 (third offense).

For the no-contest provision, the VRU proposed to increase the fine from P500 to P1,000.

“The reason that we want to impose higher fines is because most offenders are repetitive violators because our existing fines are affordable. Even students can afford to pay P500,” Lopez said.

“In order to further discourage smoking in Davao City, there is a need to increase the penalties provided,” Lopez added.

City Ordinance 0367-12 series of 2012, otherwise known as the New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance, prohibits smoking of any tobacco product including e-cigarettes, shishas and the like, in all accommodation and entertainment establishments, workplaces, enclosed public places, partially enclosed public places, public buildings, public outdoor spaces and all public conveyances, government-owned vehicles and other means of public transport within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City.

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