The Davao City Council pioneered the strict implementation of the Anti-spitting Ordinance which seeks to promote not only the cleanliness of the streets of the city, but generally, it aims to protect the health of the people. The ordinance was successfully enacted last 2009 through a resolution making it punishable to spit in public places to minimize the spread of illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria.
Councilor Samuel Bangoy, Chairman of the committee on health, stated the gist of the ordinance as such:
“No person or persons shall carelessly or intentionally spit saliva, phlegm, mucus, or other substances from the mouth in the city streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks, malls, markets, streets, public carriers, public halls, and buildings, banks, public squares, terminals, shopping and business centers, schools, churches, hospital, and other similar places within the City of Davao.”
Public place refers “to any place open to the public, such as but not limited to streets, alleys, sidewalk, parks, malls, markets, public carriers, public halls and buildings, banks, public squares, terminals, shopping and business centers, schools, churches and hospitals, within the City of Davao.”
According to Councilor Bangoy who authored the local ordinance, this law is envisioned to decrease the alarming rates of Tuberculosis (TB) cases in Davao and other highly communicable diseases such as SARS and A H1N1. He pointed out that tuberculosis, a fatal, contagious and airborne disease, can be transmitted through spitting that mainly affects the lungs. The infectious agent known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is reportedly able to survive in a dried state for weeks, possibly up to eight months.
“The health of the people is compromised by the continued unhygienic practice of spitting in public places,” the councilor physician said in his explanatory note, and added that about 75 Filipinos die of tuberculosis every day.
The Davao City National Tuberculosis Program medical coordinator Dr. Ashley Lopez said that “We have a high case of drug-resistant Tuberculosis or TB; these are patients that do not respond to medicine even after six months”. In there 2008 – 2009 data , Davao City TB case increased from 1,568 to 1,617 respectively, which is considered to be the highest in the region.
Violators will be fined and jailed accordingly. Dr. Bangoy’s proposal stipulates the following penalties for violators:
- First offense – fine of Php 100
- Second offense – fine of Php 200
- Third offense – fine of Php 300 and/or a subsidiary imprisonment not exceeding six months in case of insolvency, or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
The Davao City Health Office will spearhead information dissemination campaign to advocate the health hazards of spitting.
The City has been noted to be the first city in the Philippines that implement this kind of ordinance. The Anti-spitting Ordinance is another landmark ordinance of the city that captures attention not only in the country but also abroad. Among these are the smoking ban in public and the prohibition on the sale and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials both enacted in 2002.