By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday vowed to intensify its campaign against the use and sale of vapes or e-cigarette products among minors.
In a radio interview, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said they would coordinate with school officials and parents on the implementation of Republic Act 11900 or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act.
“Bigyan natin bilang pagpopoprotekta na rin sa ating mga kabataan lalo sa mga school places and public places, ipapatupad natin yung RA (Republic Act) 11900 lalo na yung paggamit ng mga vapes and electronic cigarettes pati na rin yung mismong sigarilyo para sa kalusugan ng karamihan and this will be emphasized in public places lalo na sa mga eskwelahan (We will also exert efforts to protect the youth especially in schools and public places, we will implement RA 11900 especially the use of vapes and electronic cigarettes as well as cigarettes for the health of the majority and this will be emphasized in public places, especially schools),” Acorda said.
The PNP chief said he had ordered all police commanders to increase police visibility in all public places, particularly the vicinity of schools, and to run after those vaping in no smoking areas.
Under Section 9 of RA 11900, the sale, promotion, advertising and product demonstration of Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products or Novel Tobacco Products within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of a school, playground or other facility frequented particularly by minors shall be prohibited.
Meanwhile, PNP Public Information Office chief Col. Redrico Maranan clarified that those minors or students caught using vape in public places will not be detained or punished.
“Ang focus nito ay yung ating mga menor de edad subalit medyo special ang gagawin nating handling sa case na ito sapagkat ang gagawin ng ating pambansang pulisya ay sila muna ay sisitahin, pagbabawalan, at paalahanan at katuwang natin diyan ang mga magulang at mga school officials sa pagpapatupad natin nitong mg ordinansang ito. Basically kapag minor ay kahit saang area yan ay puwedeng sitahin, i-accost at ipagbawal yung paggamit ng vape at sigarilyo (The focus of this is our minors but the handling we will do in this case is a little special because what the national police will do is to approach them first, stop and warn them and their parents and school officials will help us enforce these ordinances. Basically, when a minor is in any area, they can be cited, i-accost and prohibit the use of vape and cigarettes),” Maranan told reporters in a press conference in Camp Crame.
Maranan, however, said vapes of repeat offenders may be confiscated, especially if they are minors.
He said there are existing ordinances mandate that there should be no establishments selling cigarettes and vapes within 100 meters of the school premises and the city/ municipal chief of police will coordinate with their respective local government units to inspect near the premises of the schools.
Maranan said that PNP personnel on the ground has been required to conduct regular visits to schools in their respective areas of responsibility as part of the measures to strengthen ties between the police and the community.
He said the program is part of the Oplan Bisita Eskwela wherein policemen are tasked to coordinate with the barangay officials for school visitation. (PNA)