By Katrin Anne A. Arcala
CITY ADMINISTRATION WILLIAM Ablong stressed the need for amendments in the smoke-free Dumaguete ordinance.
The smoke-free council, through city councilor JV Imbo, is currently pushing a batch of revisions for Ordinance No. 94 in the council sessions.
First, instead of being reprimanded for the first offense, violators will be fined directly. Second, barangay tanods, who are primarily part of the enforcing team, will be given incentives for every violator whom they will spot.
Ablong said that the smoke-free council saw these as the answers to the prevailing non-attendance of those who are required to join the smoke-free seminars. Out of the 638 violators, only 198 attended the orientation.
Dumaguete City only has three enforcers to cover the entire 30 barangays. Tanods were supposed to be part of the main enforcing team. However, for the previous months, they were inactive on the implementation.
“We have seen several loopholes in the ordinance. Now, we are working to fill in those spaces.”
Another problem they faced was the lack of budget. Ablong said that some of the enforcers had to spend from their own wallet particularly during their roving duty hours.
“Last year, we weren’t included yet in the budge since the ordinance came in the middle of the year and the budget was drafted a year ago,” he said.
For 2014, the council is already expecting a proper allocation after having passed all their requirements for the approval of their budget plan.
“By the end of the year, we may already have the revisions passed. By January 2014, we already have a budget,” Ablong said.