‘Smoking not totally banned’
BY GLENDA SOLOGASTOA
ILOILO City – Smoking in Iloilo City is not totally banned, clarified City Tourism Officer Ben Jimena.
There are designated “smoking areas” where smokers, including tourists, can do so, he stressed in reaction to the statement of 63-year-old German, Manfred Link that the city’s anti-smoking ordinance discourages tourists from visiting this southern city.
Regulation Ordinance No. 2006-150 or “The Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Iloilo City” prohibits smoking in public places and conveyances.
Another one, Regulation Ordinance 2001-292, bans minors from smoking.
“It is not a complete ban,” Jimena said.
The city’s anti-smoking ordinance stipulates that an establishment not having a designated smoking area will be fined P500 for the first offense; P1,000 plus one-week suspension of operation for the second offense; and P5,000 fine and recommendation of business closure for the third offense.
Link said he is a smoker and “customer of Coffee Break, Atrium, malls, hotels and restaurants.”
“During our last shopping, I was told that the mayor had declared Iloilo City as a strictly non-smoking place,” said Link.
“It makes me not wanting to go downtown anymore. I will do my shopping outside of Iloilo City and stop going to restaurants and hotels of Iloilo City. Other smokers will certainly do the same,” he said.
While Jimena said he respects the opinion of Link, he stressed that “tourists are supposed to respect the local laws.”
Link and his Ilongga wife maintain a house in Pavia, Iloilo. They spend from five to six months each year in the Philippines.
“Because we have a house and lot in Pavia, we are interested in the developments in Iloilo City and surrounding areas. But the city’s anti-smoking program has unfortunately reached a level which has to be commented on,” Link said./PN