No money for info drive on ‘No Smoking’ edict PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 July 2013 11:11

The “No Smoking” Ordinance which is being pushed by the City Council has been initially greeted during its first committee hearing last Wednesday, with a budgetary problem, especially, on the dissemination of  information to Zamboangueos, starting this year.

Ordinance No. 413 regulating smoking in Zamboanga City, and providing penalties thereof, is slated to be implemented on September 27, 90 days after its approval by the local legislature.

Councilor Myra Abubakar, author of said ordinance, admitted about the dilemma that this law would be facing, when it is time to start letting people know, that smoking is already banned in conspicuous places in Zamboanga City.

Abubakar, who chairs the City Council’s Committee on Health, Sanitation, and Family Welfare, said that “while it is a must for this law to be implemented here, the problem now is where to get the funds to spend for signages, warning people against smoking in prohibited areas, as well as about the risks smoking cause to both smokers and passive smokers”.

However, other councilors and government agency representatives present during the committee meeting last Wednesday  gave suggestions on where to source out funds for information dissemination.

Former District 2 Councilor Reinerio Candido suggested that each councilor allocates part of their respective priority development assistance funds (PDAF), to help finance the putting-up of billboards and signages, which would surely cost a lot.

Candido’s suggestion, was however, countered by other councilors, who individually, expressed doubt, whether such allocation would be allowed by both the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and City Budget Officer Virginia Gara, considering that it is out of the prescribed usage for councilors’ PDAF.

Even representatives from the City Engineer’s Office echoed difficulties of sourcing out funds to spend for materials in making anti-smoking signages and billboards.

The body also moved for Abubakar’s committee to meet owners of security agencies, whose security guards will later be tapped to help enforce anti-smoking law in the respective establishments, where they render duty.

The meeting ended with Abubakar’s committee, planning to seek help from the City Health Office in terms of information campaign.

Meanwhile, admitting to being not so conversant about the proposed anti-smoking law, representatives from the city police office has asked Abubakar’s committee to set a specific date and lecture them about said edict. — Philip Abuy