The Davao City Vices Regulation Unit (VRU) will be celebrating the 21st World No Tobacco Day, with the theme “We need food, not tobacco,” on May 31.

VRU Head Ret. Colonel Hernando Las, during the I-Speak media forum on Thursday, said the celebration, in partnership with the DOH XI, will kick off at 8:30 a.m. with a motorcade starting from Magsaysay Avenue.

The program proper will be held at the Almendras Gym where 100 percent smoke-free establishments will be recognized. Partners in the police forces and the VRU’s enforcers will also be awarded with plaques of recognition for their efforts.

From January to March this year, the VRU has apprehended 1,630 violators to the smoking ban, collecting fines of up to P1,575,500. This is slightly higher than the 1,502 apprehensions recorded from the same duration last year which amounted to P1,406,500.

First time violators to the anti-smoking ordinance are fined P1,000 while repeat offenders are fined P2,000.

Las said despite the City’s rigorous anti-smoking campaigns, the number of apprehensions is on the rise, attributing the trend to the more laxed attitude of violators coming out of the pandemic.

Las reminded smokers who wish to quit that the City Health Office offers nicotine patches and Nicotine Replacement Therapy consultation that can help them shake off the habit.

Violations to the liquor ban are also increasing, Las said. Several business establishments that offer liquor, in particular, are repeat offenders to the ordinance.

A total of 491 apprehensions for violations to the liquor ban and the sobriety ordinance were recorded from January to March this year, amounting to P1 million worth of fine collections. This shows a slight increase from the 390 apprehensions from the same duration last year which yielded fine collections of up to P882,000.

Liquor ban violators are fined P3,000 for the first offense and the same for the second offense.

With this, the VRU head called on all Dabawenyos to refrain from smoking and drinking in public to preserve their good health and avoid being fined or (in the case of non-paying violators) have cases filed against them by the VRU.

“Manawagan lang ko sa tanan diri sa Davao City nga muundang na sila og panigarilyo, ug kining mga establishments pud na pagka-ala una sa kadlawn, manara na gyud sila (I just call on everyone here in Davao City to stop smoking; and these establishments as well after one o’clock in the morning, they should already be closed),” Las said. CIO