People caught smoking in public places will not be penalized yet, but they will definitely be given warning.
This was according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Spokesperson Tina Velasco during an interview earlier today in governement media’s tv/radio program “Talking Points”.
The MMDA recently announced that starting May 30, they will be arresting those who are smoking in public places. This is in strict implementation of the anti-smoking law, which is under the provisions of Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.
The full enforcement of the said law was later moved to July 1 as MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino would want to make use of the present period as information campaign for RA 9211 --as part of the government’s effort to make the public aware of the existence of the said law.
Ms. Velasco said that those who were caught since May 30 until June 30 will just be given warning.
The MMDA, together with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the 17 local government units in NCR are tasked to apprehend no-smoking transgressors.
Under R.A 9211, smoking tobacco is prohibited in public places such as: centers of children and youth activity such as schools, playgrounds, recreational facilities and youth hostels; elevators and stairwells; locations with fire hazards such as gas stations; hospitals and health centers, medical and dental facilities; public conveyances and public facilities such as airports, trains and bus stations except those with separate smoking areas; and, food and beverages preparation areas. “Public conveyances” are defined as modes of transportation servicing the general population such as, but not limited to, “elevators, airplanes, buses, taxicabs, ships, jeepneys, light rail transits, tricycles, and similar vehicles.”
According to the MMDA statement, violators will be fined P500 on first offense while those who cannot afford to pay the fine are obliged to render eight hours of community service. Those arrested for the second time will be made to pay a P1,000 fine and those arrested for the third and subsequent times will be made to pay a P5,000 fine.
The announcement of the anti-smoking law is in observance of 100 percent Smoke-Free Environment campaign and the World No Tobacco Day celebration on June 1, 2011.
The reinforcement of the said law is aimed at achieving a smoke-free metropolis by 2012.
Ms. Velasco added that the anti-smoking law will be an endeavor the MMDA, the Department of Health, the 17 local government units in Metro Manila, together with NGOs and the UP College of Law will strongly undertake, with the cooperation of the public in order to achieve a smoke-free NCR.