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Benguet town mulls total ban on cigarettes sale

The Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) here has approved a resolution urging the Sangguniang Bayan to enact an ordinance on the total ban of the sale of cigarettes in the town, an official said Thursday.

Outgoing Mayor and Vice Mayor-elect Arthur Baldo said the MAC’s action was based on reports that some students in the municipality are seen smoking near school premises even during class hours.

The MAC is composed of the mayor, vice mayor, a representative from the legislative body, academe, senior citizen, women’s group, church leaders, youth, business sector, and non-government organizations.

MAC is an advisory body serving as partners of the Sablan police as an overseer of the implementation of the Philippine National Police Integrated Transformation Program-Performance Government System.

Baldo said Sablan is a recipient of the Red Orchid award. As early as 2017, Sablan has consistently bagged the regional award, making it a Hall of Fame awardee with the towns of Lamut and Hungduan in Ifugao.

The annual DOH Red Orchid award seeks to recognize smoke-free offices of local government units, line agencies, government-run hospitals DOH-managed centers for health development and jail facilities that implement a smoke-free policy.

Baldo said they received the award for diligently implementing the No Smoking Ordinance.

Sablan approved its smoking ban ordinance in 2011, which prohibits any person from smoking in public utility vehicles, government-owned vehicles, public buildings, public places, enclosed public places or any enclosed area in the municipality.

The ordinance imposes fines on violators with a penalty of PHP500 to PHP2,000 or imprisonment of six months or both at the discretion of the court.

“We have to strengthen our campaign to protect those who are not yet inclined to smoke especially the students,” Baldo said.

During the MAC meeting, Capt. Cyril Tubongbanua, Sablan chief of police, reported that incidents involving students seen smoking near school premises are not reported to them but said they will soon be patrolling school premises. (By Dionisio Dennis, Jr.)

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