NO SMOKING ZONE: Dinagyang smokers face imprisonment

A vendor smokes beside his cigarette stall, while waiting along a main street in Metro Manila. ABS-CBN NEWS

ILOILO City – Dinagyang Festival revelers can drink alcoholic beverages to their hearts’ content but they can’t smoke. The city ordinance prohibiting smoking and vaping in public places and conveyances won’t be lifted, according to Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) director Iñigo Garingalao.

Violators would be fined or imprisoned.

The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) will help ICAST enforce the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance which also prohibits tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships in the city.

“Always remember that smoking is bad for your health. Also, we do not want tourists to get the impression that there are a lot of smokers in Iloilo City,” said Garingalao.

The two-day highlights of this year’s Dinagyang Festival are on Jan. 26 (Kasadyahan cultural contest) and Jan. 27 (ati-ati tribes competition).

The other day, Mayor Jose Espinosa III ordered the suspension of the 2 a.m. curfew on the sale of alcoholic beverages from Jan. 25 to Jan. 27 and until the wee hours of Jan. 28.

Smoking, however, “is definitely not allowed in public places here,” said Garingalao.

During the 2018 Dinagyang, the anti-smoking ordinance was also not suspended.

Under the ordinance, citation tickets would be issued to violators and a fine of P1,000 would be imposed, and/or three days imprisonment at the discretion of the court for the first offense; P1,500 fine and/or five days imprisonment for the second violation; and P5,000 and/or 10 days imprisonment at the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding violations.

Meanwhile, erring establishments or business facilities face a fine of P5,000 for the first offense; one month suspension of business permit for the second violation; and revocation of business permit for the third violation.

For erring (selling cigarettes) individual or business establishments with a capital below P5,000, a fine of P1,000 would be imposed for the first violation; P2,000 for the second violation; and P5,000 for the third offense or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five days or both at the discretion of the court.

Garingalao, meanwhile, advised operators of Dinagyang kiosks at the food festival area (Delgado Street) to display “No Smoking” signboards./PN

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