The Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) has conducted anti-smoking awareness campaign to 84 public elementary and high schools, and private schools in the metropolis.

ICAST director Iñigo Garingalao said the initiative is part of the “Kabataang Ilonggo naga Sikway sa Sigarilyo” and “Pag-Ulikid sa Pamantan-on” program of the City Government where students are taught on the ill effects of smoking and related laws and city ordinances.

“We are doing this to care for the youth who are susceptible to testing the use of smoke because at an early age, they have seen how adult smoke and most of the time, they are asked to buy cigarette, and as a result, they thought that smoking could not harm them,” Garingalao said.

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ICAST conducted a two-day awareness campaign at Jalandoni Memorial National High School from Sept. 4-5.

They already covered 54 public elementary schools, 14 public secondary schools, and 16 private elementary, secondary, and tertiary schools in the metropolis.

ICAST apprehended 450 students and 57 minors who were smoking in public places from January to July.

“We have seen that there is a decrease of number of students and minors who were caught because of our awareness campaign to schools,” Garingalao stressed.

ICAST apprehended 1,291 students and minors in 2015; 797 in 2016; and 762 in 2017.

Violators were issued with citation ticket and mandated to pay P1,000 for first offense, P1,500 for second offense, and P5,000 for third and subsequent offense.

Minor offenders were either brought to the school’s guidance counselor or being referred to City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) Crisis Intervention Unit, Garingalao said.

ICAST also conducted trainings and seminars to 11 national government offices such as Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Philippine National Police, and 54 Local Government Units learning about the city’s experience.

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The Department of Health (DOH) recognized Iloilo City as Red Orchid Hall of Famer from 2012 to 2014 for its successful anti-smoking campaign.

“Being a model and advocate city on the anti-smoking and vaping campaign, we are obliged to influence others into making their own ordinances. We also shared to them our best practices here and what we do in our enforcement and field work,” Garingalao said. (Merianne Grace Ereñeta/ Iloilo City PIO)

Photos By Supreme Student Government – JMNHS

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