Smoke It Away

I cannot let myself be blind of what I see. I wouldn’t be true if I’ll keep it to myself. If so, I’ll be violating the golden rule which is doing the greatest good for the greatest number.

I am one of the thousands who commute everyday and it is hard to ignore the truth of what our society is today. In each day, the same scenario happens. Traffic here, traffic there. Jaywalkers here, jaywalkers there. AND a LOT more reasons to ruin your morning mood.

What I can’t stand to see and accept by heart is that we have this growing population of smokers. Yes, I am not against the tobacco industry for it helps (in some way) to boost up our economy. More so, many Filipinos live by this smokey eerie job. Truth to tell, smoking has been and will soon forever be a status symbol.

Whenever I pass Taft Avenue in Manila, I always try to cover my nose so as not to let smoke enter my nares. It’s not simply the smoke that comes from vehicles. It is combined with cigarette smoke. How bad could that be? Very bad! It wouldn’t be a BIG deal for me if I know that people won’t have risks of developing cancer. But, it’s the other way around.

What made it even bigger is the fact that these smokers thrive in front of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). I find it ironic enough for a hospital, who promotes health, prevents illness and restores health actually have factors that could further aggravate the condition of its clients. On the other hand, I am not to blame the UP administration nor the head of the PGH. It is quite clear that some of the hospital’s employees smoke. But, I know they know where’s the right place to do it.

The client’s bantay is mostly the top consumer of cigar. But again, I cannot blame them. Maybe, it’s a way for them to smoke away the tension or whatever feeling they have.

The point I’m making here is not directly against the smokers, the vendors, the administration, nor the manufacturers of such product. What I’m after to is the government and the Philippines itself.

I am totally aware that we have Republic Act No. 9211 otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003. Section 5 of the said law clearly states that:

Smoking shall be absolutely prohibited in the following public places:

a. Centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for persons under eighteen (18) years old;

b. Elevator and stairwells;

c. Location in which fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials;

d. Within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals. Medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories;

e. Public conveyance and public facilities including airport and ship terminals and train and bus stations, restaurant and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas; and

f. Food preparation areas.

Let’s say “they” are not within the buildings of the PGH. However, does that differ with smoking in front of the hospital gates? I bet not. Treating the clients would be like making a pot and after it’s done you throw it away and break it into pieces.

I know it is not right and just to compare our country with other countries. Yet, true enough, why can’t we be as disciplined as Singaporeans? The answer: selfishness. Drama.

We are weak because the implementation of our law is weak. It is the same reason why we remain poor. The solution to the overflowing problems that our country have is the cooperation between the State and its citizens. I think everyone likes to prove that it is indeed MORE fun in the Philippines. Why not start it by implementing the law properly and by abiding with it. Let the law be above anyone. LET NOT OUR LAW BE MERE WORDS WRITTEN IN SHEETS OF PAPER.

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