Samal imposes ban on public smoking | Inquirer News
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Samal imposes ban on public smoking

/ 12:01 AM November 11, 2015

TAGUM CITY—The “No Smoking” sign is up in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos), a prime tourist destination known for its pristine beaches, prime diving spots and a cave populated by over a million fruit bats in Davao del Norte province.

Samal officials, however, will implement the ban on public smoking gradually as they brace for opposition from businesses cashing in on more than half a million tourists visiting the island yearly. In 2014, the resort-island attracted over 679,000 tourists, about 30,000 of whom were foreigners.

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“We want to make Samal 100-percent smoke-free so we will be launching a massive campaign to inform and educate [locals and visitors] about the ban,” the city information officer, Melrose Arig, told the Inquirer by mobile phone on Monday.

Igacos is the latest local government in Southern Mindanao to join the nationwide campaign against smoking in public. Its newly approved ordinance bans smoking within a hundred meters from government offices and inside public vehicles in the city’s 44 villages.

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Davao City became the first and most widely known area in the region to ban smoking in public places. Hundreds of violators have already been slapped with fines over the last 12 years.

Early this year, Tagum City passed a similar measure, while the provincial board enacted a ban all over Davao del Norte in May during its hosting of Palarong Pambansa (National Games). Nearby Compostela Valley province has a similar law.

Arig said a task force would be created to ensure the implementation of City Ordinance No. 2013-223. “The task force would be deputized to arrest those who violate,” she said, without providing details of possible offenses and penalties.

“Ours is a tourist-island and we’re expecting some opposition so we have to go slow,” she said. Frinston L. Lim, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: ban, Cigarette, Davao, Davao Del Norte, prohibit, public smoking, Regions, Samal, Smoking, Smoking Ban, Tagum City, Tourism, Tourist
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