Monday, August 15, 2011

Of “Smoking”, “Ban” and “Public Places” in Metro Manila

I had already a rough note on this topic re my hectic 1 week stay in Metro Manila (golly, I now consider myself a visitor) with that “smoking ban” in place. However, recent news have 'again' superseded me, so I had to make some little tweaks here and there in what I had to say. So, puffing travelers, listen up and listen well esp if you’re going to Metro Manila.

Ban
As far as I can remember, at least in QC, smoking has been banned in enclosed public places as early as before I finished college. Hint: si Cory ang commencement speaker namin (her first ever), so you’ll know how long it has been.

Smoking
Usually refers to people who puff cigarettes and cigars. It does not consider the smoke belching buses, cars, trucks and even private vehicles ALL OVER Metro Manila. Hey, do I hear anyone mentioning Baguio? OMG yes! It does not also consider your neighbors even as far as three blocks away burning trash that they have just swept from their yard – composed mostly of plastic bags and wrappers. You are even now used to that smell of burning plastic, right?!

Public places
As far as I know, it is anything in this country that is not considered “private”.

Enclosed
Wheh, do I have to look for a definition of that word?

MMDA’s Actions
It is either a publicity stunt or a misguided and misplaced idiotic interpretation of a law. Am not sure though what law that is. But knowing our dear inang bayan, anything that has been passed as law in the states will have its Xerox version here. So, lest I be charged with ‘ignorance of the law’, I’ll say there is a law na lang. Ano nga yun?! Ha ha, yes please tell me everyone, the article or presidential decree number as otherwise, I will just keep in mind a friend's email that told me of “2 Corinthians 7:1” though that includes many things else.

They were on TV, employing many old men and women as “police” against smokers. My number one question was, and it remains… WHERE HAVE THEY APPREHENDED THOSE OFFENDERS? C’mon TV stations, start reviewing your footages? Di ba sa ilalim ng MRT or LRT Stations? Di ba sa sidewalk, sa gilid ng kalsada, etc?! Are those now considered enclosed public places?

There’s more, over at ABC, in Guadalupe Makati, I chanced upon those men and women, one telling her colleagues “itago nyo muna mga ID nyo, ayun ayun” pointing to a man flicking his lighter by the sidewalk. And when his cig was finally lighted, they all pranced upon the poor smoking guy to “ticket” him asking “bayad o linis”. How pathetic! I went nearer to see more of the “event”. When one of them asked me “bakit”, I also asked “bakit, private office nyo itong kalsada? hindi ako pwede manood”? I had the itch, but I dared not take out my camera. The point is, these misguided implementers are like Philippine policemen, they make you “commit the crime first” before they pounce on you and shout to the world they caught an offender. Remember that traffic police who hides by the MRT post across POEA? Yeah, “para manghuli ng nag-left turn on a red light”. Instead of standing over at the corner so that folks are prewarned not to commit the “crime” because he is there. Sus!

That last paragraph above was part of my original story remaining in draft until now.

My point: I liked the ban in QC as it has been since the late ‘80s. They were/are also strict in Makati buildings. AND the ‘smoking areas’ are of course outside. Bakit nakakita na ba ako ng nagyoyosi sa loob ng bus, building or sa hospital since then? No! That means Filipino smokers actually heed the call.

My Message To MMDA
So what’s the point MMDA? Go let those old women run after the buses, jeeps and trucks. Those are the more dangerous ‘smokers’ I’m sure. I challenge the MMDA chairman to stand by EDSA just outside MMDA building and watch how many vehicles he will see billowing thick black smoke in a span of 3 minutes. Compare that to a man on a sidewalk who normally finishes a stick of cigarette in the same span of time.

Resources are being spent in useless, trivial matters. Sayang ang kaban ng bayan!

I would rather much see something like this:


Do you know about it? Here is the story.


So you think I'm against the ban? Kahit smoker ako, I also hate smelling the smoke that comes from a burning cigarette. Tanungin nyo pa lahat ng maraming smokers on earth, ganun din sila. So ban it IN enclosed public places - which has been already in place decades ago and it worked fine. DON'T chase them down to the streets because then they will know if you are being reasonable dahil andun dumadaan din ang thousands of vehicles na pinapalampas nyo! Nagyoyosi lang sila, hindi sila big smoke-belchers. AND, wag nyo hintayin magsindi ang mga tao sa kalsada bago nyo hulihin at me maipasikat kayo sa TV! Dahil, hindi nyo naman hihintayin mahulog ang mga anak nyo sa hagdan bago nyo sabihan na delikado dun di ba? When your little tyke starts out for the stairs, what do you say? Ha? Sasabihin nyo ba sa maid "itago nyo muna mga ID nyo"? Ah, wait til I get to post my next take on smoking, baka masabi nyo dapat taga-MMDA ako!

Oh, so you are just concerned about my health and those of second hand, 3rd hand, 4th hand whatever hand smokers that could get cancer? Utang na loob, Metro Manila air is not dirty because of cigarette smokers, kahit doblehin mo pa kami (aw sila pala). Bago kami (aw sila pala) mangamatay slowly sa cancer na yan, ilan ba ang mga batang mamamatay sa dengue, hepatitis, liptospirosis? Kalinisan din (or more appropriately kawalan ng kalinisan) ang ugat ng mga yan, di ba? And those threats could kill a person fast, di ba? Do I see you apprehending people who leave their trash here and there? What have you done or what are you doing about it? Unahin nyo kaya yan mga magagaling na sir, nang bumilib nanaman kami ulit sa MMDA. Please?!

Di nyo lang kinaya ang lamok, pagbabalingan nyo naman ang mga nagyoyosi?! Ganun?! Kakahiya kayo!

Amen.


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