While working on an upcoming post on property perils for foreigners in the Philippines, I ran across this article in the Panay News. “Dinagyang Festival Smokers Face Jail Time.” Personally, I don’t smoke. Never have. Never will. However, I find the possible prison sentence for smokers a bit draconian.
The Annual “Ding Dong” Festival in Iloilo City
I never go to the annual Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City. Furthermore, I can’t even pronounce “Dinagyang” and just refer to it as “Ding Dong” when speaking to my asawa.
Even if I did try to pronounce it my wife would correct me no matter if I said it in absolutely perfect Ilonggo, the local language. (Of course, I will correct her whenever she mispronounces anything in English. We’ve been married over 19 years. Why change now?)
Frankly, I don’t like crowds and I’m not overly fond of people. I even avoid eye contact at the Sunday Mass at the Trappist Monastery in Guimaras when we’re supposed to turn around and “bless” other parishioners.
Blessedness is a good thing. Seems like I should turn around and do my little blessing bow, but I don’t.
Therefore, the moniker of “Crusty Old Expat” suits me fine.
Drink All You Want, Just Don’t Smoke
The Panay News article goes on to point out that you can quaff as many as adult beverages as you like. In contrast, light up and you could face up to three days in jail for the first offense.
Smoking is not allowed in public places in Iloilo City and no exceptions are going to be made for Dinagyang.
However, Mayor Jose Espinosa III has ordered the suspension of the 2 a.m. curfew on the sale of alcoholic beverages from Jan. 25 to Jan. 27 and until the wee hours of Jan. 28. So get drunk until you puke, it’s OK.
The two-day highlights of this year’s Dinagyang Festival are on Jan. 26 (Kasadyahan cultural contest) and Jan. 27 (ati-ati tribes’ competition).
“Always remember that smoking is bad for your health. Also, we do not want tourists to get the impression that there are a lot of smokers in Iloilo City,” according to Iloilo City Anti-Smoking Task Force (ICAST) director Iñigo Garingalao.
Yeah, they have a task force in Iloilo City to nab you smokers out there. Don’t worry about all the shabu (meth) dealers and the garbage that’s strewn throughout the city.
Worry about some party-goers that are lighting up cancer sticks.
Dinagyang Festival Smokers Face Jail Time
Fines & Jail Time for Smokers
1st Offense: 1,000 peso fine, 20 US dollars, and/or three days imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
2nd Offense: 1,500 peso fine, 30 US dollars, and/or five days imprisonment.
3rd Offense: 5,000 peso fine, 100 US dollars, and/or 10 day’s imprisonment at the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding violations.
Establishments or businesses allowing smoking on their premises face a fine of P5,000 for the first offense; one month suspension of business permit for the second violation; and revocation of business permit for the third violation.
For individuals or businesses caught selling cigarettes a fine of P1,000 would be imposed for the first violation; P2,000 for the second violation; and P5,000 for the third offense or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five days or both at the discretion of the court.
Remember what ol’ Bobby Blake said in Baretta: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.“