July 22, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Municipal Health Services Office and Tourism Office in this town in collaboration with the Transcending Institutions and Communities Inc. launched Smoke-Free Strawberry Farm through a program held at the Strawberry Farm in Barangay Betag on March 14.
This makes La Trinidad the first LGU in Benguet to launch a smoke-free tourism area.
Mayor Romeo Salda thanked their partners in the implementation of the Smoke-Free Ordinance of La Trinidad, which prohibits smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes in all public places, public conveyances, and workplaces.
He said he will push for the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the LGU and the organization of vendors to ensure that the Strawberry Farm is a smoke-free tourism area.
“Nu awan ti kooperasyon yo met laeng, awan ti mangyari. I hope that we will be having a memorandum of agreement a dakayo ti katulungan mi tapnu masigurado nga awan ti cigarette butt a makita ditoy,” Salda said.
Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan said the launching is also about renewing the strong program relative to the Smoke-Free ordinance of the municipality.
He said the local council is reviewing the possible merging of the Vaping Regulation Ordinance and Smoke-Free Control Ordinance, which have the same objective which is health promotion.
“We really want that the constituents of the municipality of La Trinidad and those who come to La Trinidad will be healthy. It’s because in La Trinidad, we disallow, regulate smoking and at the same time, vaping in public places,” said Awingan.
Smoke-Free Benguet Project Manager Cecile Agpawa said the event signifies the start of having all places smoke-free, especially those frequented by tourists.
She said environment, tourism, and health are interrelated, thus the need for the program.
“It is not a stand-alone program, but it should be integrated in all the other programs. Not only for health, also for tourism, and later on for the economy of our community,” Agpawa said.
The attendees pledged to advocate a healthier well-being of all Filipinos through the promotion of tobacco-free, vape-free, and betel quid-free lifestyle; participate and advocate responsible and healthy tourism; and to continuously work with partner agencies and stakeholders for the enforcement of the La Trinidad Smoke-Free Ordinance.
“We welcome economic growth through tourism and business growth but it should always not be at the expense of the communities’ health. The municipality is stepping up its level of implementation of smoke-free program. As we continue to level up the implementation of this smoke-free program, we ask everyone to sustain the support and the partnership we have,” Municipal Health Officer Antonette Agpas said.
Councilors Belmer Elis and Guiller Galwan, barangay officials, Dr. Genevieve Wagang-Degay, and representatives from the Department of Health-Cordillera, Benguet Provincial Health Office, women’s brigade, other government agencies, and the organization of vendors in the Strawberry Farm were also present during the launching. – Debbie E. Gasingan