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May 30, 2011
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Heads up smokers: Starting today you have to be more aware of where you light up and take a puff from that lovely, little cigarette.[firstpara]

The Metro Manila Development Authority, in cooperation with its 17 member cities, have started to once more tighten the clamps as they force stricter implementation of the no-smoking policy across Metro Manila starting May 30.

Translation: you can now get apprehended for taking a drag in the wrong places.

The no-smoking policies have actually been in our country’s big book of laws since 2003, but it is only now that they will be firmly enforced, says MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino in a report by gmanews.tv.

The law, known as Republic Act No.9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, aims to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, and so prohibits smoking in public places.

Not just that, the implementation aims to improve the overall quality of air in the streets of Manila says a report by Topgear.com.ph.  

Just the first step

This renewed push from MMDA’s Tolentino, the LTFRB, and the 17 mayors of the participating cities marks the start of MMDA’s “100% Smoke-Free Metro Manila,” whose end goal is to make Metro Manila 100% smoke-free by 2012.

The May 30 launch date of this campaign was chosen carefully too, as it is set to coincide with the World No Tobacco Day, which is marked May 31 on the World Health Organization’s calendar. Spurred as well by New York-based Bloomberg Philantrophies’ approval of a P9.5-million grant to finance the policy, there’s no reason to believe that these guys aren’t serious.

So what exactly defines a public place in this law’s context? MMDA’s Health Public Safety and Environmental Protection Head, Dr. Loida Labao-Alzona details those in a report from Inquirer.net. According to her, the smoking ban covers all schools, hospitals, youth recreation centers, overpasses and underpasses, loading and unloading bays, transport terminals and roads within 100 meters of those places, including sidewalks. Additionally, those caught smoking inside parked or moving public utility vehicles will also be detained.

With regards to smoking in your own car, Tolentino said that there are indeed gray areas and this is one of those situations. In these cases, the local city ordinances he says will be followed.

Fine by us
For the first offense, violators will get fined P500 but should they choose not to shell out the money, they can decide to render 8 hours of community service. Possibly to be tasked with picking up stray cigarette butts all over the streets...with their teeth.

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Right now though, violators won’t be fined or issued tickets yet, as MMDA has given us a “grace period” of sorts for an entire month, to educate and inform the people as well of the change. For June, violators will only be warned and reminded of the policy, but come July, well, you better be prepare 500 bucks if you plan to smoke in those prohibited places.

The Twitter Effect

Here's what the Twitter mob is saying regarding the issue:

"#Tsktsk" indeed.

JoverBryan: I saw 2 traffic enforcers smoking near LRT RECTO TERMINAL. I thought today is the start of NO SMOKING policy in Metro Manila? #Tsktsk.

Goodbye Manila

chiniehdiaz: Crap. The no-smoking law is for METRO Manila? I thought it was just the City of Manila! hahaha! I'm moving to Cebu.

xxmissgapxx: NO SMOKING IN MANILA! ��� U gotta be kidding!- do we need to move to baguio na? Haha

In denial

katlozano:no smoking na din daw sa manila, just like davao. yeah right.

He's like whatever

iamReigno
: No Smoking in Metro Manila? KTHANKSBYE. IDGAF cause I'm no smoker :)

Celebritweets featuring Lourd de Veyra!

lourddv: Bawal na nga magyosi, pero trapik pa rin.

lourddv: MMDA's 100% smoke-free Metro? Aba'y suntukan na lang!




 

WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES

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