MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has started deploying environmental enforcers to warn, and eventually apprehend, violators of the smoking ban in public places.
But what constitutes a public place?
MMDA said it will monitor smokers in public utility vehicles, loading bays, bus terminals, airport terminals, train stations and ports, and along main thoroughfares.
This means that drivers caught smoking will be apprehended and reported to the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Passengers caught smoking will also be warned and apprehended subsequently.
Environmental officers will also warn and apprehend smokers at loading bays and pedestrian lanes along intersections of main thoroughfares.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 is more precise as to what can be considered a public place.
The IRR also dictates that in enclosed places open to the population, such as public and private workplaces and other areas not stated above (such as malls) owners, proprietors, operators, possessors, managers and administrators are required to establish smoking and non-smoking areas.
The smoking area shall be in an open space or in an area with proper ventilation and far from a non-smoking area.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino added that different local governments, which tied up with the agency to promote a 100% smoking free Metro Manila, have separate ordinances describing “public places.”