Spitting in public places to be criminalized

Spitting in public places may put a person behind bars under a bill
declaring it a crime punishable with imprisonment and fine.

Rep. Eulogio Magsaysay (Party-list, AVE) authored House Bill 5901
seeking to address the bad habit of spitting in public places, which
may cause the spread of dreaded diseases to include tuberculosis (TB)
and hepatitis, among others.

Under the measure, no person shall carelessly or intentionally spit
saliva, phlegm, mucus or other substances in public places such as the
city streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks, markets, public halls, malls,
buildings, terminals, schools, churches, hospitals and other similar
public places.

Citing a report of World Health Organization (WHO), Magsaysay said
the number of deaths due to TB stands at an average of 75 Filipinos
every day and is contagious and airborne.

“According  to the WHO, the Philippines has a long way to go in
eradicating TB even if the Department of Health confidently announced
that the country will be able to attain the millennium development
goal of reducing TB deaths by 50% within five years or 2015,”
Magsaysay said.

“Mycobacterism tubercolosis, the bacteria which causes TB, can survive
in a dried state for weeks up to eight months. Spitting has been
identified as one of the factors in the spread of TB,” Magsaysay said.

Under the bill, persons caught spitting in public places face a jail
term of 6 months and shall be slapped with a fine of P500 for first
offense; P1,000.00) for the second offense; and P2,000 for the third
offense.  The violator is also required to attend a health seminar
conducted by the Department of Health in coordination with local
health units.

“While anti-spitting laws have been in existence in a number of
jurisdictions like Singapore, India, Malaysia, and China, only Davao
City has vigorously implemented a similar law in the country since
2010,” Magsaysay said.

Magsaysay said Metro Manila mayors approved a resolution prohibiting
spitting in public places as a means to combat Sever Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (SARS), but no significant change happened since its
implementation.

Magsaysay said there is a need for more health-related legislation to
achieve an integrated and comprehensive approach to health
development.

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