• Smoking absolutely prohibited in public places

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    One afternoon, I was riding In a public utility jeepney plying the Pasay-Alabang route. I noticed that the driver was smoking and all the passengers behind him were covering their noses. I called his attention to stop smoking, but he answered: “Bumili ka ng sarili mong sasakyan.” Feeling insulted by his reaction, I immediately took photos of him including the license plate of his vehicle. I do not know what charges to file against the driver. Please advise me on what to do.
    Lea

    Dear Lea,
    You can file a complaint for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9211 against the driver for smoking while inside a public utility vehicle. Smoking refers to the act of carrying a lighted cigarette or other tobacco products, whether it is being inhaled or smoked (Section 3(p), Ibid.).

    Smoking shall be absolutely prohibited in public places such as public conveyances and public facilities including airport and ship terminals and train and bus stations, restaurants and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas (Section 5 (e), Id.). The penalties for violation of Sections 5 and 6 of RA 9211 are as follows: a) first offense, a fine of not less than Five hundred pesos (P500.00) but not more than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) shall be imposed; b) second offense, a fine of not less than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) but not more than Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) shall be imposed; c) third offense, in addition to a fine of not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) but not more than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00), the business permits and licenses to operate shall be canceled or revoked (Section 32, Id.).

    One of the duties and responsibilities of the driver of a public utility vehicle is to warn passengers and co-workers who shall fail to comply with the smoking prohibition and to ask the violator to leave the public utility vehicle if the latter cannot comply (Section 5 (b), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Memorandum Circular No. 2009-036).

    The driver who fails to comply with the above-mentioned circular shall be subjected to the following penalties: a. 1st offense: P500.00/month for failure to post the No Smoking signages in the appropriate locations and P500.00 fine for other violations; b. 2nd offense: P5,000.00 fine and suspension of the Certificate of Public Convenience, where applicable; c. 3rd offense: P10,000.00 fine and cancelation of Certificate of Public Convenience.

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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