Legazpi mayor wants evacuation centers smoke-free

By Emmanuel Solis

LEGAZPI CITY -- The mayor here is reminding all Mayon evacuees to strictly follow the smoke-free policy of the city government in the public schools currently serving as their temporary shelters.

Mayor Noel Rosal told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview Tuesday that some of the evacuees were seen smoking in the centers.

"In Legazpi, we are strictly implementing this local ordinance as a firm commitment to maintain the healthful environment for the constituents and visitors in order to prevent cancer, heart diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary and other tobacco-related diseases," Rosal said.

He directed the office of the smoke-free ordinance enforcers and the office of the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) to ask the evacuees to stop puffing cigarettes in the compound of evacuation centers particularly at their respective rooms to prevent diseases caused by second-hand smoke.

Rosal also instructed the members of the enforcing team to conduct a regular monitoring of all the people in the evacuation centers and explain to them the penalties imposed on violators of the smoke-free ordinance of Legazpi.

Ordinance number ‎007-2009, otherwise known as the Revised Smoke-Free Ordinance which was approved nine years ago bans cigarette smoking in the city’s public places which include government offices, mass conveyances, parks, sidewalks, hospitals, school campuses, malls, public markets, cockpit arena, entertainment houses, restaurants, pub houses, roads sides, sports complex, evacuation centers and other crowded areas.

For three consecutive years starting 2010, Legazpi was a recipient of the yearly Red Orchid Award being accorded by the Department of Health (DOH) to local government units and other public institutions which have successfully implemented the anti-smoking drive.

In 2012, this city was named into the Hall of Fame of the DOH Red Orchid awards, an achievement testimonial of the city administration's commitment to free its communities of the hazards that cigarette smoking brings upon public health.

The search for the Red Orchid award that was launched by the DOH Center’s for Health Development aims to address the health risk posed by tobacco smoke, which kills at least 10 Filipinos every hour. (PNA)