DAVAO CITY—The newly-formed Davao City Vices Regulation Unit has apprehended 4,487 violators of the city’s 15-year ban on smoking as of Tuesday, the city government said.
The violators were issued with citation tickets, which they will settle within three days. First-time offenders will pay an administrative penalty amounting to P500, attend smoking cessation counseling, and return the citation ticket to the police station. Police will file cases against those who will fail to return the citation tickets.
Under the ordinance, succeeding violations, will automatically be filed in court—even if the violators have complied with the requirements.
Minors, on the one hand, will be required to report to the Davao City Social Services and Development Office for assessment and referral to the smoking cessation clinic for counseling, and to the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children for a diversion and rehabilitation program.
Voltaire Engracia, VRU chief, said the arrests were mostly made by police ahead of the full operations of the deputized enforcers and inspectors hired by the unit to help implement the ordinance.
Engracia noted his unit will be authorized to inspect business establishments to ensure compliance with the ordinance.
Establishments will also be strictly required to display signage to remind the public of the ordinance. Failure to follow this may constitute a violation of the smoking ban, Engracia said.
The VRU is set to strictly enforce the Policy in public conveyances, accommodation, and entertainment establishments, enclosed and partially enclosed public places, public buildings, public outdoor spaces, and workplaces.
To also ensure public awareness and compliance, the unit is set out to distribute stickers and posters to establishments, public places, and public utility vehicles.
Personnel from the City Transport and Traffic Management Office will make sure that PUVs comply with the provisions of the ordinance.
The VRU was created and organized by Mayor Sara Duterte through Executive Order No. 10 in early April to lead the effective and efficient enforcement of the city’s anti-smoking and liquor bans.