Alabel intensifies anti-smoking campaign
When I went home from school one afternoon I noticed that the name of our sari-sari store has been removed. I didn’t pay much attention to it, thinking that it will be replaced soon by the sponsoring company. I headed straight to my room and browsed my news feed on Facebook. kept seeing #SmokeFreeAlabel by an account named Mho Alabel. It was then that I knew that it was the reason for the disappearance of our store’s name.
Alabel has taken to social media its campaign to minimize, if not eliminate, smoking in the municipality.
I immediately got interested in the campaign and communicated with the administrator of the Mho Alabel account. I asked about the legal basis for their campaign or if there are recent municipal ordinances that strengthened the campaign against smoking. I found out that as early as 2002 — yes, 13 years ago — a municipal ordinance has already been established setting sanctions for anyone caught smoking in public places. Municipal Ordinance 2002-025 defined the prohibitions and the respective punishments for smoking in public spaces.
It was also supported by EO 2014-027 issued by Mayor Corazon Sunga-Grafilo.
Although you can immediately ask why they had to wait for 13 years to implement the ordinance, if you are an Alabelian, you can only be happy that, finally, they have decided to do their job.
To educate the public about this the Municipal Health Office launched several actions.
They posted information materials such as posters, tarpaulin, and stickers in strategic locations.
Health workers also roamed around the town to pick up cigarette butts as part of their Oplan Pulot Upos.
Local communities, such this group of Pantawid Pamilya Program recipients in Barangay Bagacay, were given education on the ill effects of smoking to our health.
It is really a good thing to see our government agencies showing eagerness in implementing laws and ordinances such as the ban on smoking in public and selling of cigarettes to minors. But I hope that they will be able to sustain it and not only for the sake of winning an award such as the Orchid Award, which they are aiming for.
The success of this effort also relies on the cooperation of the citizens in reporting violations to the authorities and the sincerity of the authorities to impose penalties to guilty violators.
* All photos were taken from the Municipal Health Office’s Facebook Account