BALANGA City, Bataan: Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Diocese of Balanga on Saturday described a court decision on this city’s No Smoking ordinance as “disappointing and disgusting.”
“A city ordinance which prevents and protects especially the children and the youth from future sickness is undermined with the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 93 in Balanga City,” the Bataan bishop said.
The RTC judge recently declared Section 1 of the city ordinance called University Town Ordinance as “unconstitutional and invalid.”
This section had amended the city’s No Smoking ordinance that bans smoking and sale, distribution and promotion of cigarettes within the 80-hectare University Town in Balanga City.
The Philippine Tobacco Institute, an organization of cigarette manufacturers, has questioned the ordinance in court.
It claimed that Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing will be losing P15 million in sales as a result of the ban.
But Santos said the court should consider people over profit.
“They should think of the general welfare over personal or capital interest, the health and better life of the people rather than material and monetary gains,” he added.
“Lives of our people are more important and valuable compared to Philip Morris losing P15 million in sales,” the bishop said.
He added that the Diocese of Balanga supports and stands with Balanga City Mayor Francis Garcia and the city council in their ordinance.
Under the diocese are Catholic parishes in 11 towns and one city in Bataan.
The RTC ruling is appealable.
“We pray and hope that the health and life promoting city ordinance will be upheld in the end,” Santos said.