Vol 9 No. 37 <> Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org <> Oct. 22 - 28, 2007
STORIES THIS WEEK
U.P. Studes for Smoke-Free Campus
|Page1 Rep. San Luis won't Withdraw Support for Arroyo Impeachment||
Devotion to freedom being a hallmark of University of the Philippines students, another new and radical event is taking place: they are pushing for a smoke-free campus.
A survey conducted by the UP Association of Political Science Majors showed that the larger number of students want the campus to be smoke-free "because they know that the majority will benefit from this. But we are curious as to how this will be enforced on such a big campus," vice president for Academics of the organization Kat Villamin said.
University president Emerlinda Roman signed an Administrative Order last month declaring the entire university a smoke-free zone. Since then, however, the AO has generated controversy because most of the deans of colleges have not yet specified designated smoking areas.
Two students reportedly have been subjected to disciplinary measures, while another two were berated by a professor for smoking along a balcony of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, the college with the highest population of students on the Diliman campus.
"The question remains, if designated smoking areas are allowed, where are these areas? It should be mapped out and everyone should be notified," CSSP Student Council president Stephanie Tan said.
"Until designated areas are assigned, smoking anywhere inside and around any college building…is considered a violation of the Administrative Order. Violators will be dealt with proper disciplinary action," UP vice president for Legal Affairs Marvic Leonen said.
Gradually preparing the scholars for a total smoking ban in 2010, some level of smoking within the premises of the 493-hectare Diliman campus is tolerated. This condition is a more lenient version of Republic Act 9211, otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Law which requires an absolute smoking ban.
According to the AO, designated smoking areas may be assigned but shall not be turned into "privileged meeting places" for smokers and non-smokers alike.
"The idea is to protect students from smoking and from second-hand smoke. A smoking area that is used as a privileged meeting place serves as an advertisement for smoking that is targeted directly toward other students. The University cannot allow this because it is responsible for the health and well-being of its students," Leonen said.
After three years, when UP Diliman becomes totally smoke-free, smoking will only be allowed outside of a 100-square-meter perimeter of the campus, which is bounded by Balara to the east, and PHILCOA on the west.
Last month, over a hundred UP students filed an intervention to a court case brought by Fortune Tobacco against the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco. In the case filed on September 5 at the Marikina Regional Trial Court, the student-intervenors expressed their concern over how the outdoor advertising ban should be interpreted.
They said that if the outdoor advertising ban will be interpreted in such a way that will allow billboards and signages atop retail stores despite the provision which only permits leaflets, posters, and other promotional material inside retail establishments, the youth will continue to be lured by tobacco advertising.
"We want all tobacco advertising to be taken away from our lives, including store billboards and signages. These advertisements are meant to entice people to start the habit of smoking, and are primarily aimed at teenagers and young adults," student-intervenor Diana Trivino said.
Among the 102 students who filed the case is reigning Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Anna Theresa Licaros, a third-year law student of the university.