Smoking ban in Metro Manila's public places

Here's bad news for smokers.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) last week announced that starting 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.

There were reports, however, that information dissemination takes place the whole month of June and the apprehensions will actually officially begin in July.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino in the announcement said MMDA and LGU health and environmental sanitation officers, 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 said.

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 1st.

Smokers could only hope it will be “ningas-kugon” (something that is not permanent) on the part of the implementors, otherwise they should: 1) stop smoking, 2) puff a cigarette privately, or 3) get penalized.