Anti -moma ordinance finally approved

The “Anti-Moma Ordinance” penned by Councilor Joel Alangsab has finally earned the approval of the city council after its draft went through multiple revisions. The ordinance hurdled the third and final reading with nine councilors voting in its favor, one voting against it, and one abstaining during the Sangguniang Panlungsod ng Baguio’s regular session on March 9.
Alangsab has deleted, added, and changed various provisions of the original proposal taking into account the inputs derived from the participants during the public consultation held in December 2019 and the suggestions of the other council members.
Under the ordinance, chewing of “moma” will be prohibited in all public places.
As defined in the ordinance, public places are those that are accessible to the public or those that 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.
Other prohibited acts enumerated in the ordinance are the following:
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 those stipulated prohibitions under this ordinance will be fined P500.00 or will render four hours of community service for the first offense; P1, 000.00 or six hours of community service for the second offense; and P2, 000.00 or eight hours of community service for the third and subsequent offenses.
The revised ordinance, however, stipulates that 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 aforementioned provision was not included in the original proposal. However, Alangsab heeded Councilor Arthur Allad-iw’s advice to consider allowing the chewing of “moma” during “cultural” gatherings in the city. The said practice is deeply embedded in the culture of the Cordillera Indigenous Peoples, Allad-iw said.
Alangsab clarified that the ordinance will not prohibit people from chewing/spitting “moma” in their private houses.
“A person can chew and spit anywhere in his private abode,” Alangsab said.
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, etc. of companies, institutions, establishments, and vehicles.
Non-compliant persons-in-charge will also be fined P500.00 or will render four hours of community service for the first offense; P1, 000, 00 or six hours for the second offense; and P2, 000.00 or eight hours of community service, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months, or revocation of business permit (in the case of business owners) for the third and subsequent offenses.
Pursuant to this ordinance, a task force will be created for its enforcement which will be led by the city mayor as the chairperson, the chairperson on Health and Sanitation, Ecology, and Environmental Protection of the Baguio City Council as the vice-chairperson, and the city health services officer or his/her duly authorized representative as the action officer.
The members of the task force include the city building official; the city legal officer; the head of the Public Information Office of the City of Baguio; the permits and licensing officer; representative/s of the Civil Society Organization (CSO); the city director of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO); the city treasurer; the city and environment and parks management officer; a representative from the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Federation of Parents and Teachers Association (FPTA); the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay or his duly authorized representative; the public order and safety officer; and other member/s identified by the chair or vice-chair.
Among the duties and responsibilities of the task force are the following:
Receive, review and process reports and complaints; serve citations and notices; file of appropriate charges for violations under this Ordinance; attend regular Task Force meetings; deputize enforcers; and conduct seminars and trainings. **Jordan G. Habbiling

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