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P3.2-M IN SMOKERS’ FINES GIVEN TO HOME FOR KIDS WITH CANCER

In what could be considered as an ironic twist, fines collected from violators of Davao City’s very strict Anti-Smoking Ordinance aimed at lowering incidence of lung cancer among others, have been given to a halfway house for children from all over Mindanao suffering from cancer.This year, Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte, after seeking the approval of the City Council, turned over P3.2-M to the House of Hope, a facility for children with cancer at the back of the Southern Philippines Medical Centre (SPMC).”Out of your vices, I will spend the money for children with cancer,” Duterte said when he turned over to the House of Hope in June this year the P3.2-M fund representing fines collected over a period of two years in Davao City.

The House of Hope, a project of the Waling-Waling Rotary Club of Davao City, serves as the temporary home for children stricken with cancer from all over Mindanao who have no place to stay in the City.

Headed by a young doctor, Dr. Mae Dolendo, the facility also provides counselling services to the children and their parents.

“Those who survive the disease come back here every year for the Survivors’ Day, an event which the Mayor has not missed,” Dolendo said in an interview I made earlier this year.

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Dolendo said Mayor Duterte also spends his birthday and Christmas with the children and personally buys toys for them.

In spite of the very strict implementation of the Anti-Smoking Ordinance, an estimated 4,000 violators were arrested last year and paid the fine of P500.

Defiant violators also learned the hard way that the ordinance against smoking applies to everybody, including the tourist who opted to swallow his cigarette butt when personally confronted by the Mayor recently.

Duterte, himself a former smoker, said that in spite of the risks of smoking, people still continue to indulge in the vice.

He said the strict implementation of the Anti-Smoking Ordinance could lessen tobacco use in Davao City.

Authored by former Councilor Bonifacio Militar 13 years ago, Davao City’s Anti-Smoking Ordinance prohibits smoking in all public places, including the city’s streets, and inside public transportation.

The ordinance provides that “(any) person issued with the ticket has the option to either contest the violation in court or voluntarily pay the penalty of P500 imposed upon him or her to avoid being criminally prosecuted within three days from apprehension.”

Duterte said there will be no let-up in the campaign against smoking in the City and vowed the future collections in fines will be turned over to the House of Hope and charitable organisations involved in the protection of children.

(Photo caption: The tough-talking Mayor Duterte wipes his tears after children with cancer sang “Salamat Sa Iyo” during last year’s Christmas Day celebration in the House of Hope. Sunstar Davao File Photo)

 

Source: MannyPiñol.com

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