With reports from Ma. Mikaela Alonso/UM Intern
THE RELAXED restrictions post-pandemic led to an increase in apprehensions of smoking and liquor ban violators this year.
Hernando Q. Las, OIC of the city’s Vice Regulation Unit (VRU), said they recorded 353 more arrests for anti-smoking campaign infractions this year and an increase of 253 for violations of the liquor ban.
“Naay mga bar na gahi’g ulo, naa na sa duha o tulo ka bar ang napasirado sa Davao tungod nisupak sa liquor ban (There are bars that do not follow, two or three bars have been closed in Davao for opposing the liquor ban),” he said during the iSpeak forum at City Hall last Thursday.
In fact, the unit collected more than P2 million in fines from over 1,000 violators for the anti-smoking and liquor ban ordinances.
From January to March this year, the VRU has apprehended 1,630 violators of the smoking ban, collecting fines of up to P1,575,500. The amount is slightly higher than the 1,502 apprehensions recorded from the same duration last year, totaling P1,406,500.
First-time violators of the anti-smoking ordinance are fined P1,000, while repeat offenders are fined P2,000.
He also reminded smokers who wish to quit that the City Health Office offers nicotine patches and Nicotine Replacement Therapy to help them shake off the habit.
Moreover, he said a total of 491 apprehensions for violations of the liquor ban were recorded from January to March this year, amounting to P1 million worth of fine collections. He added that this shows a slight increase from the 390 apprehensions from the same duration last year, which yielded fine collections of up to P882,000.
“Manawagan lang ko sa tanan diri sa Davao City nga muundang na sila og panigarilyo, ug kining mga establishments pud na pagka-ala una sa kadlawn, manara na gyud sila (I just call on everyone here in Davao City to stop smoking; and these establishments as well after one o’clock in the morning, they should already be closed),” Las said.
Currently, the VRU has more than 50 deputized enforcers, but Las mentioned that he had already requested 20 more officers to deal with “stubborn” Davaoeños.
He also reminded the people of the liquor ban schedule from 1 am to 8 am and the consequences for disobeying it: a fine of P3,000 and P5,000 for third-time violators, along with a possible one-year jail time.
Davao City will mark the 21st anniversary of implementing the Anti-Smoking Campaign along with World No Tobacco Day on May 31, a yearly event celebrated to strengthen further the positive effects of banning cigarette smoking in public places here in Davao.
The celebration, in partnership with the DOH XI, will kick off at 8:30 a.m. with a motorcade starting from Magsaysay Avenue. The program will be held at the Almendras Gym, where 100% smoke-free establishments will be recognized.
Partners in the police forces and the VRU’s enforcers will also be awarded plaques of recognition for their efforts.
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