December 6, 2023

The Baguio City Council is reiterating its call for strict compliance of Baguio locals and visitors with the ordinance regulating the chewing of “moma” or betel quid and spitting in public places.
As defined in Ordinance 35-2020, public places are those that are accessible to the public or are for collective use regardless of ownership or right to access including but not limited to schools, workplaces, government facilities, establishments that provide food and drinks, accommodation, merchandise, professional services, entertainment, or other services, outdoor spaces, public transport, and terminals. 
In the resolution unanimously approved by the city council last February, Councilor Lilia Fariñas stated the unsanitary practice of moma chewing and spitting in public places still persists as evidenced by the “red-orange” stains on roads and pavements despite the prohibition against the practice, which she described as unsanitary, unhealthy, and unethical.
“The practice of chewing and spitting of moma in public places is not only very unsanitary, unhealthy and unethical, but it is even escalated by the fact that the Covid-19 and its numerous variants are still present in the society which is a guaranteed spreader of the virus and very likely of other communicable diseases as well,” Farinas said.
Likewise, the resolution calls for the activation of the Task Force Moma created under the ordinance to strictly enforce its provisions.
Other prohibited acts enumerated in the ordinance are chewing and/or spitting betel quid inside a public utility vehicle whether moving or stationary; chewing and/or spitting betel quid in plain view while inside a private place or on the road without the required spittoon or container for spit; leaving/throwing a used spittoon or draining its content in public places, canals, and rivers; and selling “moma” to minors.
Any person who commits any of the prohibitions will be fined P500 or will render four hours of community service for the first offense; P1,000 or six hours of community service for the second offense; and P2,000 or eight hours of community service for the third and subsequent offenses. 
The revised ordinance, however, provides chewing and spitting moma will not be prohibited in public places during “indigenous people’s gatherings” provided that every moma chewer attending the gathering uses a spittoon that is not transparent.
To maintain cleanliness in the place, “moma” chewers should not empty, drain, or scatter the spittle or the content of the spittoon nor should they throw, dump, or leave their used spittoon in the venue of the gathering.
The ordinance further mandates persons-in-charge to prominently post and display a signage bearing the phrase “No chewing and/or spitting moma” in a location where it is most visible to the public. 
Persons-in-charge are presidents, managers, administrators, owners, operators, drivers, and the like, of companies, institutions, establishments, and vehicles. – Jordan G. Habbiling