HealthJustice Philippines, a think tank and advocacy group with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, praised the Davao City Vices Regulation Unit (VRU) for its strict enforcement of the city’s smoking ban. The VRU has apprehended a total of 4,487 smoking ban violators since its formation last month.
“We commend the local government of Davao City and its Vices Regulation Unit for strictly enforcing the provisions of its pertinent local ordinances and national and international laws banning smoking in public spaces. Davao City has been recognized by no less than the World Health Organization for its landmark tobacco control ordinance, and since then it has continued setting a sterling example in crafting and implementing tobacco control measures for cities across the country and the whole world to emulate,” said Mary Ann Fernandez-Mendoza, president and trustee of HealthJustice.
The new law enforcement entity formed last April 3 is tasked to ensure that smoking and alcohol bans are implemented in the city, and that violators thereof are punished accordingly. More particularly, it is mandated to see to it that the provisions of Davao City’s ordinance banning smoking in public places (City Ordinance No. 0367-12), ordinance disallowing the selling of liquor beyond 1:00 AM (City Ordinance No. 004-13) and the ordinance prohibiting selling and serving alcohol to minors are followed.
The unit is headed by Retired Navy Capt. Voltaire Engracia.
“Engracia will work hand in hand with the DCPO and police stations in the city for the implementation of the ordinances covered by the EO,” Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said last month.
“We hope that President Duterte will soon sign the ‘smoke-free’ Executive Order that will not only strengthen the enforcement of existing smoking bans, but also direct local governments to pattern their anti-smoking ordinances after that of Davao, which includes a ‘no smoking indoors’ policy,” Fernandez-Mendoza added.
240 Filipinos die every day from smoking-related diseases, some of which are developed due to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases a non-smoker’s chance of developing lung cancer by 20-30% based on the data provided by the US Surgeon General.
HealthJustice is a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control and a Programme Partner of the NCD Alliance.
Photo of Retired Capt. Voltaire Engracia from Lean Daval, Jr. on Edge Davao.