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VRU bats to cancel smoker rooms in establishments

The city government is eyeing the permanent removal of designated smoking areas in all establishments.

Ashley Lopez, Vice Regulation Unit (VRU) head, told TIMES in an interview that the policy is meant to address one of the city’s efforts in campaigning for a smoke-free Davao.

“We do not want to see anyone smoking in public places. We have been campaigning for a smoke-free Davao for the past 18 years and although there are some significant changes, (but) we still have to get the true implication of the words ‘smoke-free Davao,’” he said.

Lopez said he will be proposing “the abolition or cancellation of issuance of a designated smoking area in establishments (both public and private)” in a meeting to be conducted this month by the city government with various concerned departments and agencies.

“We have been campaigning for an anti-smoking program and maybe it is high time for us to really take it (smoke-free initiative) seriously,” the VRU head said.

Lopez said they will prioritize schools, factories, companies, shopping malls, and restaurants as they are continuously intensifying the campaign against smoking among workplaces in the city. There will be specific guidelines for these workplaces to follow before they can be certified as “smoke-free establishments.”

Once the measure will be imposed, the VRU will be inspecting workplaces around the city to make sure they comply with the city’s checklist of requirements.

“Probably after the inspection, there will be one physical assessment (of the establishment) and eventually we will provide a certification,” he said.

“If 80-85% of the establishments here will be declared as smoke-free, then that is the time that we can already say that Davao City is a smoke-free city. We have been declaring the city as a smoke-free (city), but it is still not,” Lopez said.

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