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Cotabato wants to become smoke-free city

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COTABATO CITY - Hundreds of officials, employees, and visitors attended the formal launching of the "No Smoking Campaign of Cotabato City" held at the People's Palace here on Friday,

The event was a result of months of preparation by the Office on Health Services after the Sangguniang Panglunsod passed an ordinance regulating smoking in the city.

Estella Ilagan, Department of Health 12 anti-smoking program nurse coordinator, has commended the city government for the efforts being exerted for the implementation of the program.

She has also acknowledged all other cities and municipalities in Region 12 who are actively supporting this campaign.

Ilagan said the drive against smoking must be intensified given the fact that Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in the region and smoke-related diseases are on top of the leading causes of death in the country.

Cotabato City Mayor Japal J. Guiani, Jr. said that despite the continuous warnings of the Department of Health, millions of people were still into this vice.

In Cotabato City, the problem is the regulation of smoking. With the launching of the No Smoking Campaign, the Mayor hopes that smoking would be controlled.

"We shall be imposing the law and those who will be caught violating it shall be dealt with accordingly. I am also very happy to see that our establishments in the city are supporting this campaign against smoking," he said.

"Sana nga magtuloy tuloy na ito para tuluyan nang maging isang smoke-free city ang Cotabato (I hope we can sustain it so the city becomes truly smoked free)," Guiani said.

Speaking during the campaign, Guiani said he believed that discipline was the key to achieve this goal.

To monitor the implementation of the law, the Anti-Smoking Task Force has also been formally created.

The task force is composed of members from the city government, Civil Society Organizations, and other law enforcement agencies like the Cotabato City Police Office and the Office of the City Prosecutor.

"There's no reason that we cannot do it," Guiani, a former smoker, said. He stopped smoking when he started working in the city executive branch.

By PNA/PIA9-ZBST




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