The dream of being the first 100 percent smoke-free province in the Philippines is slowly coming true for Negros Oriental as more local government units here are adopting the smoke-free ordinance as provided for by RA 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act.
This after three LGUs are set to launch their smoke-free ordinances this month of July.
The Province’s capital city, Dumaguete, is set to launch its ordinance on July 15, while the town of Bindoy on July 13, and Jimalalud, July 14.
Amlan, the town that successfully pioneered the ordinance’s adoption, will mark its second year of implementation of the smoke-free law on July 15.
The LGUs of Zamboanguita, Mabinay, Ayungon, Tanjay City and Canlaon City have conducted public hearings on the ordinance, while Guihulngan City is about to hold a first reading. The town of San Jose held a first reading, said Bernie Maniego, health director of Framework Convention Alliance on Tobacco- Free Philippines.
Maniego’s group has been working closely with the LGUs in the Province for them to craft local smoke-free ordinances, with the end-goal of making the Province the first to implement the smoke-free law on a province-wide scale.
Maniego said that statistics show there are 84,700 Filipinos who die annually due to diseases caused by smoking.
He said he hopes the ordinance will be largely implemented among all LGUs in the Province. “Hopefully, Negros Oriental will be the first Province in the Philippines that is a smoke-free province because all its towns and cities are implementing the smoke-free ordinance,” he said.
Maniego urged the mayors of LGUs who have yet to adopt the ordinance to start crafting one now. “Let’s aside our personal and political interests and prioritize the welfare of your people,” he said.
He added that the mayors are welcome to seek his group’s help in adopting said ordinance. “We can give you technical support all throughout,” he promised. (RMN/PIA)