By Katrin Anne A. Arcala
A year aft er the implementation of the Smoke-free Dumaguete Ordinance, its council members said that there is still a huge lack of manpower to support its cause. Lyndon Elemia, member of the Smoke-free Council said that they only have three enforcers who divide the 33 barangays in the city as their assignments. These enforcers are assigned to issue the citation tickets and to reprimand those who are caught for their first offense. Elemia added that the difficulties of implementing the ordinance are caused by low manpower and budget. “The process itself of asking people to follow the ordinance is hard. But the fact that we are receiving little attention from the city government is harder,” he said.
Ordinance No. 94 or the Smoke-free Ordinance of the City of Dumaguete was launched Sept 1 last year. Its main goal was to prohibit smoking in public areas around the city.
The Municipality of Amlan is one of the champions of the smoke-free ordinance. Kim de la Cruz, the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President, said: “It was a successful ordinance since the government of Amlan and the people of Amlan were together, helping each other to achieve healthy living.” Elemia said that the primary purpose of this is to slowly eradicate the culture of smoking in the city. “We can’t change the culture overnight. We only had a year of implementation. Hopefully, people will realize the importance of this [ordinance] in the near future,” he said.
As of the moment, students from the Environmental Journalism (EJ) 53 of the College of Mass Communication are helping out with the reiteration and information dissemination of the ordinance.
“Misconceptions arise when we do not give importance to what information we pass to the public. Since we are now on our second year of implementation, it’s good to also check what the public knows about this,” Dawn Regalado, EJ 53 Class President said.