Barangays are ‘hotbeds’ of anti-smoking law violators


(Carolyn Kaster/The Associated Press)

MOST violations of the Iloilo City anti-smoking ordinance occur in the barangays due to lack of support from some village chiefs, said Iñigo Garingalao, head of the Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST).

“From selling of cigarettes to adults and even minors, smoking initiation at early age, smoking during barangay events and activities like summer sports games, and even in the Barangay Hall,” Garingalao said.

He stressed that not all barangay leaders support the city’s anti-smoking drive, thus the numerous violations in the grassroots.

“I’m not saying all kapitan don’t support the drive, they are supporting in different levels. But there are those who are not supportive and in fact, antagonistic they’d even reprimand the ICAST. But per DILG directive, local leaders must support and implement smoke free public places as provided by Republic Act 9211 (Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003),” he said.

To address the problem, Dr. Bernard Caspe said the City Health Office is set to hold anti-smoking forum for barangay leaders.

The talks will discourage smoking in barangay’s public places and roads. “They should smoke in their own homes or backyard,” Caspe said.

Aside from awareness and advocacy campaign, the CHO provides cessation program for those who want to quit smoking. These are available in the nine district health centers.

The anti-smoking initiatives goal is to eliminate smoking in the city and to empower the public to prevent smoking related illnesses like cancer and hypertension.

Moreover, the public must also be protected from the threats of tobacco epidemic “that cripples workers in barangays and entice our youth.”

Per ICAST and CHO data, there were 9,025 smokers that sought consultation with regard their addiction in the health centers of Arevalo, Jaro I and Jaro II, Lapaz, Lapuz/Bo Obrero, Mandurriao, Molo, Sto Rosario and Tanza in 2016.

In the same year, a total of 1,164 TB patients received smoking cessation services while only 465 smokers quit.

The number of non-TB patients who received smoking cessation services is 5,316.

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