No Smoking in Metro Manila starts today

From the MMDA website:

Here’s not so good news for smokers.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today announced that starting Monday (May 30), the agency and the 17 local government units (LGUs) of Metro Manila will start apprehending smokers who will be caught puffing away in public places in all major and secondary roads of the metropolis.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said MMDA and LGU health and environmental sanitation officers, usually accompanied by policemen, will round up smokers caught violating the provisions of Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, and the smoking prohibitions of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and all local ordinances and issuances.

Violators will be fined P500 on first offense while those who cannot afford to pay the fine are obliged to render an eight-hour community service.

The MMDA- LGU partnership in the enforcement of an intensified no-smoking policy within Metro Manila coincides with the observance of the 100% Smoke-Free Environment campaign on Monday and the World No Tobacco Day celebration on June 1, 2011.

Tolentino, together with the 17 Metro mayors and LTFRB Chairman Nelson Laluces, will officially launch the 100% Smoke-Free Metro Manila also on Monday in simple rites at the MMDA headquarters in Makati City where the local chief executives will jointly sign a commitment contract affirming their participation and sustained enforcement of the Tobacco Regulation Act with the end-goal of achieving a smoke-free Metro Manila by 2012.

The New York-based Bloomberg Philantrophies has approved a P9.5 million grant to the MMDA to finance the anti-tobacco use program.

In mid-June last year, the MMDA intensified its no-smoking campaign within its premises as required by a Civil Service Commission (CSC) directive ordering a total smoking ban in all government offices.

“We must be very strict in implementing our anti-smoking regulation. We want the MMDA to become a model government agency in terms of compliance with the CSC policy,” Tolentino said.

Since last year, the MMDA has conducted a series of advocacy meetings and planning workshops with the 17 LGUs to get them to enact their own anti-smoking ordinances in their respective jurisdictions.

MMDA traffic enforcers, members of the Philippine National Police and even those from the LGUs have likewise been trained on the enforcement of the provisions of RA9211.

“We should transform Metro Manila into a smoke-free community. A healthy Metro Manila is a healthy and progressive Philippines,” Tolentino added.

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