MANILA, Philippines— A Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court has ordered the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to stop enforcing its smoking ban on major and minor thoroughfares in the metropolis.
In a six-page decision, Judge Carlos Valenzuela of the Mandaluyong RTC Branch 213 ruled in favor of two petitioners, Antony Clemente and Vrianne Lamson, who were apprehended by environmental officers of the MMDA sometime in July.
The court enjoined the MMDA against enforcing the no-smoking campaign in open areas not covered by the definition of public places under RA 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 for 20 days.
The MMDA legal department may still file a motion for reconsideration to reverse the decision, a court staffer told the Inquirer.
The petitioners, who were represented by lawyer Luis de la Paz, had asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the MMDA’s smoking ban on roads and sidewalks, claiming the ban was beyond what the law defined.
“This court, therefore, finds that there is an extreme urgency and paramount necessity on the matter at issue which this court has to restrain to prevent grave injustice and irreparable injury as may be sustained not only by petitioners but also by the unwary public,” Valenzuela said.
The order will be effective once the court has approved a bond of P100, 000 posted by the petitioners. With Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net
The TRO is only for minor and major roads but the smoking ban will still continue in the following areas as prescribed by Section 5 of RA9211:
1. Centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for persons under 18 years old;
2. Elevator and stairwells;
3. Location in which fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials;
4. Within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals, medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories;
5. Public conveyance and public facilities including airport and ship terminals and train and bus stations, restaurant and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas; and
6. Food preparation areas.
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