QC gov’t regulates use of e-cigarettes in public places

Marje Pelayo   •   March 20, 2019   •   2038

A vaper puffs out a big cloud of fruity-tinged vapour with his e-cigarette

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Quezon City government has approved a city ordinance regulating the use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes in public places, including advertisements and promotions regarding it.

On Tuesday (March 20) the QC government issued a press release that says Mayor Herbert Bautista has approved City Ordinance 2737-2018 which aims to protect the health and welfare of the residents of Quezon City.

It also includes provisions that will safeguard the interests of all stakeholders “including smokers who have the right to choose less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.”

The ordinance covers places of worship, hospitals or other healthcare centers, public conveyances, government offices, and educational or recreational facilities primarily intended for minors.

E-cigarettes will only be allowed in all enclosed places, whether public or private use, provided that the owner, operator or administrator of the establishment shall post: “USE OF E-CIGARETTES IS ALLOWED INSIDE” in each entrance of the building.

Private workplaces may designate a vaping area in open spaces with proper ventilation but shall not be the same room as the designated smoking area.

It is unlawful under the ordinance to purchase e-cigarettes from a minor, for minors to sell e-cigarettes, and for minors to purchase e-cigarettes.

Only direct marketing and online ads are allowed for e-cigarettes but must not appeal to audience 18 years and below.

The ads must specifically depict the use of e-cigarettes only to persons above 25 years of age.

It must not show or portray the actual use of e-cigarettes that will undermine quit-smoking messages and encourage non-tobacco or non-nicotine users to use the product.

All allowable advertisements and promotional materials for nicotine receptacles shall contain the health warning: “This product may damage your health and is addictive” occupying 10% of the bottom area of the advertisement.

  • Penalties for violations of the ordinance include:
  • First offense: Not less than P500 but not more than P1,000;
  • Second offense: More than P1,000 but not more than P2,500;
  • Third offense: Not less than P2,500 but not more than P5,000 and cancellation/revocation of the business permit or license to operate of the offender. — Marje Pelayo

QC adds beds in Hope facilities amid rise of COVID-19 cases among children

Maris Federez   •   August 13, 2021

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Quezon City government has expanded its Hope community care facilities to accommodate more children who tested positive for COVID-19 as well as their families or guardian.

Quezon City Health Department chief Dr. Esperanza Arias said the local government recently procured additional beds, oxygen tanks, and medicines for all the city’s 11 COVID-19 facilities.

Arias said the city is adding “family rooms” across all Hope facilities. This is to accommodate more COVID-positive children as well as their families who may also be COVID positive or their guardians who will look after them.

“We’re adding more family rooms to avoid children being separated from their families. We want to provide optimum care and take into account the psychological wellbeing of these children as well,” said Arias, noting that only Hope 3 and 6 had family rooms in the past.

Meanwhile, the QC government is recruiting more staff as the opening of three more Hope facilities is underway.

Data from the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) showed that nine percent or 318 of COVID-19 cases recorded between August 1 and 7 were children aged 17 and below.

Five percent or 169 are aged 0 to 11, while four percent or 149 come from the 12 to 17-year age group.

The report also said that the total number of cases during this period is 293 percent higher than that of the July 1 to 7 data with 81 recorded positive cases.

“One factor that causes these infections among children could be the improper way by which COVID-positive adults quarantine themselves. There are those who stay at home and do not self-report to CESU,” said CESU Chief Dr. Rolando Cruz.

The local government has recently issued guidelines that strictly prohibit home quarantine for confirmed COVID-19 cases and symptomatic close-contacts.

The guidelines stipulated that these cases must be transferred to the city’s hospitals, Hope community caring facilities, barangay isolation facilities, or national government-accredited isolation hotels.

“We’re continuously ramping up our contact tracing efforts so every household will be safe, especially young children who are not yet able to follow minimum health protocols on their own,” Cruz said.

“But ultimately, we need everyone’s cooperation. We are appealing to anyone who is experiencing symptoms to please inform CESU immediately,” he added.

CESU can be reached through its official Facebook page and QC Contact Tracing hotlines 8703-2759, 8703-4398, 0916-122-8628, 0908-639-8086, and 0931-095-7737.

QC gov’t approves P250M fund for ECQ, MECQ workers’ hazard pay

Marje Pelayo   •   June 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government has approved the release of P250 million funding to provide hazard pay to all its eligible workers.

Those qualified for the said benefit include employees who physically reported for work during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“All our workers on-duty deserve to be fairly compensated for their sacrifices especially since they face the inevitable risk of contracting the virus,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

“They deserve no less as they continue to support us in the delivery of our services and programs to the public,” she added.

Quezon City Ordinance No. SP-3025, s-2021 states that “all workers who occupy a regular, contractual or casual position or those engaged through a contract of service, job order, or similar schemes are all qualified to receive P500 hazard pay per day of duty.”

Meanwhile, a hazard pay of P200 per day will be provided to barangay personnel who occupy plantilla and contractual positions under Ordinance No. SP-3026, s-2021.

“Barangays are also encouraged to draw from their funds and to add up to P300 maximum as hazard pay to their staff who were on-duty during the period,” said Assistant City Administrator for Fiscal Affairs Don Javillonar.

The ECQ was declared in the National Capital Region from March 29 to April 4 due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

It was subsequently extended to April 11 then downgraded to MECQ from April 12 to April 30.
Further, MECQ was extended until May 14.

QC advises gov’t offices to implement ‘work-from-home’ scheme during Lenten week

Marje Pelayo   •   March 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City government is calling on national government offices within its jurisdiction to implement a “work-from-home” scheme for the duration of the Lenten week to help arrest the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Mayor Joy Belmonte stressed the local government unit (LGU) is aiming to limit mobility within the next nine days to contain the spread of the virus.

“During this time frame, we hope to reduce the number of infections significantly, thus easing the burden on our healthcare system and our medical frontliners who are tirelessly working 24/7,” she said.

The city government plans to reduce the workforce and if possible, make it even lower than the government mandate of 30 to 50 percent.

Based on their contact tracing, Dr. Rolly Cruz of the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) pointed out that a significant number of COVID-19 cases involve workers who got infected in the workplace and transmitted the virus to members of their household.

Since January 1, CESU has recorded a total of 310 COVID-19 cases in about 30 national government offices in Quezon City.

As of March 24, one hundred ninety-two (192) of the 310 cases are active.

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