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Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada [es-TRAH-dah] ordered an ordinance that prohibits smoking in public places in the city.
City Ordinance No. 7748 states that smoking in public places and enclosed areas such as hospitals, schools, public buildings, and shopping malls in the Philippine capital is prohibited. In addition, Manila City Hall employees will be allowed to smoke only in designated areas, which include areas near the city hall’s gates.
The 79-year-old mayor was a former smoker, but he decided to break the habit following his hospitalization in December due to asthma attacks. The ban was his way of compelling the residents of the city to follow his example.
The Manila smoking ban emulates an existing anti-smoking law in the southern city Davao, which sanctions violators with either a PHP 5,000 fine (around $100) or a four-month imprisonment.
Estrada pointed out that the smoking ban will also promote a cleaner environment. Prohibiting smoking will eliminate pollutants and garbage such as cigarette butts and leftovers.
Around 17 million Filipinos are smokers. According to a 2014 report by Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, the country has the second highest number of smokers in the region, following Indonesia. Each year, the Philippine economy spends around $4 billion to cover healthcare and productivity losses resulting from smoking.