WITH THE DECLARATION of a total ban on smoking and the sale of cigarettes in the area, the Quezon Memorial Circle is now truly a “circle of wellness.”
Quezon City Parks Development Foundation Inc. (QCPDFI) president Charito Planas said it was time for the park to become “smoke-free” as it promotes full wellness by offering classes in aerobics, dance taebo, aerosport, dancercise, grind workout, taichi, Pilates, belly dancing, ballroom and line dancing. There are also regular seminars on health and livelihood.
Planas said people who smoke should stop for both health and financial reasons. “A smoker who quits smoking can save up to P45 a day which is equivalent to more than P1,300 a month. With P45, you can already buy a kilo of rice for the day,” she said.
She stressed that cigarette vendors can sell other goods and earn more rather than peddle death on a stick.
The formal launch of the smoke-free park was held recently, coinciding with the 19th founding anniversary of the QCPDFI. It was supported by the Department of Health, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and the Quezon City government.
The highlight of the event was a parade where participants included QCMC employees, concessionaire workers, senior citizens and members of civic and fitness groups. Also present were the two “Yosi Kadiri” mascots portraying the ill-effects of smoking.
In a forum during the launch, Dr. Asuncion Anden, DOH National Capital Region director, said that only 35 percent of Filipinos smoke while the rest are passive smokers.
“There is telling evidence that secondhand smoke affects everyone, not only those who smoke. So let us send a message to smokers that we do not want their smoke and we want the air that we breathe to be clean,” Anden said.
She urged the Quezon City government to strictly implement Republic Act No. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 which bans or prohibits smoking in all mass transportation facilities, public utility vehicles and public places, including schools, recreational facilities and areas frequented by children as well as hospitals, clinics, laboratories and restaurants.
Under the law, violators will be fined between P500 and P400,000 and face imprisonment of 30 days up to three years, depending on the gravity of the offense.
Planas said that apart from declaring the Quezon Memorial Circle a smoke-free park, the QCPDFI will sponsor regular seminars to be conducted by Dr. Luisito Idolor of the Lung Center of the Philippines. The seminars, to be held every Friday at 4 p.m., will offer suggestions on how to quit smoking and discuss the adverse effects of cigarettes.