Hire non-smokers only

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE Iloilo City Health Office is pushing for the hiring of non-smoking City Hall personnel.

In his letter to Mayor Jose Espinosa III, CHO head Dr. Bernard Caspe requested the Sangguniang Panlungsod to pass a resolution for the hiring non-smoking personnel and for workers who smoke to undergo the cessation program to put an end to diseases brought about by the harmful effects of smoking.

“As grand slam Red Orchid awardee, Iloilo City should consider healthy and sound city government employees free from smoking and its hazardous threat to one’s health. The screening program would truly benefit not just the individual but the government workplace as well,” Caspe said.

Councilor Candice Tupas, committee chair on health, sanitation, and hospital services, who presented the letter on Tuesday to the Sangguniang Panlungsod said that once the committee hearing pushes through, they will be proposing a resolution mandating smokers to undergo consultation on cessation clinic as part of the requirements of the City Hall.

“It will go through a committee hearing but it will push through it will be a requirement for smokers to undergo sa cessation clinic for them to realize the negative effects of smoking and commit to a healthier lifestyle,” she said.

But Tupas explained that they are not advocating to stop the hiring of smokers.

“We don’t want to discriminate the personnel. Wala kita ga-advocate nga indi maghire smokers because we recognize their change of heart and change of mind what we want is for them to undergo consultation,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (I-CAST) Executive Director Iñigo Garingalao expressed support for Caspe’s proposal of hiring non-smoking personnel.

“Ginasupport ko na. It’s a fact nga naga-affect sa ila trabaho kag gakagastusan kita kay dugay dugay mamasakit siya.  We all know nga health and smoking environment naga-derail sa progress sang lugar,” he said.

Garingalao said the City Hall can still hire smokers as long as they are willing to undergo consultation with the smoking cessation clinic.

“Gasulod sila sa City Hall wala sila kabalo sa layi sa anti-smoking.It’s only kon mapulpugan amo na lang sila makabalo,” he lamented.

In the anti-smoking cycle, enforcement is not enough to end the addiction, according to Garingalo.

“Sa cycle sa anti-smoking, may awareness, enforcement, advocacy and ang closure niya is ang cessation na part kay kon dakpanay langindi enough gabalik gid sila,” he emphasized.

Garingalao also urged smokers to undergo free consultation in the active cessation clinics in the metro.

“May pila kita ka active cessation clinic and may ara sa City Hall and may ara pa gid apat spread across the districts in Iloilo,” he noted.

Meanwhile, committee hearings involving the concerned agencies will be done to tackle the proposal of the City Health Office before finally proposing for a resolution or ordinance, Tupas said.