by Irma A. Guhit
SORSOGON CITY , June 15 (PIA) — In the Sanggunian Panlalawigan joint committee hearing here held Friday last week, the ordinance on a Smoke Free Province of Sorsogon was discussed by several member- agencies invited to the meeting.
Hon. Renato D. Guban, principal author , joined in by Hon Eric Ravanilla, member, Committe on Health, Population and Social Services presented to the body the full text of the ordinance for thorough discussion and deliberation.
Several inputs were provided by Dr. Liduvina Dorion, assistant department head of the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital here.
“A lot of money from government hospitals are spent when this public safety problems can be avoided should those smokers quit smoking”, she said.
Dr. Dorion spoke in reference to the many smokers who have been confined in the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital. She said some deaths in the hospital were recorded as caused by smoking.
Bacon District Sorsogon City Health Officer Dr. Hazel S. Calleja said that Sorsogon City has already implemented its smoke free ordinance and that those who are smoking specially employees were designated an area where to smoke so as not to affect those who are non-smokers.
Meanwhile Engr. Maribeth Fruto, department head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO) pointed out that the Philippine Clean Air Act was approved in 1999 and not in 2003 as stated in the ordinance and should be corrected/ rectified while The Tobacco Regulation Act was approved on 2003, otherwise known as Republic Act 8749.
The ordinance presented also gave insights on the increasing number of Filipinos each year who die due to tobacco related illness caused by smoking and second smoke due to exposure to smokers.
Children according to Dr. Dorion are also the most vulnerable group exposed to this kind of health hazard and little do parents smoking know that when these children suffer colds , symptoms of intense coughing and primary complex these can be attributed also to exposure to second smoke specially if a member within the household is a smoker.
She also expounded that there is a third smoke attribution, these are the residue that has been left to curtains, table clothes and other materials that can accumulate in places where smoking is done.
Dr. Dorion further stressed that there are a lot of medical practitioners who can now affirm that they have quit smoking and can be best resource on how they could share how they did it.
This ordinance needs to be popularized and given massive information dissemination so that the province of Sorsogon can best become a testimony for good governance practices, according to most of the participants.
This ordinance, according SP member Guban, is a must in the support to the Clean Air Act.
Employees are to report those whom they see are smoking and that they will be reprimanded at first offense. Stipulated also are the penalty violation which according to Guban will be reviewed.(PIA-Sorsogon)