The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has warned sari-sari stores and retailers against selling cigarette products to minors or face penalties under the Tobacco Regulation Act.

Welson Paz, DTI specialist, said neighborhood sundry stores near or within the 100-meter radius of public and private schools are also warned against peddling cigarettes to students and are advised to put up signages that say they do not sell them.

He said they are issuing the warning because they have monitored that many sari-sari stores are not complying with the policy within the delineated radius in the city.

“Doon sa mga nagtitinda ng cigarette products malapit doon sa mga eskwelahan, kapag sinabi na malapit ay ‘yong pasok sa 100-meter radius ng paaralan. Meron tobacco law na nagsasabi na bawal tayo magtinda ng cigarettes at meron mga requirement na kailangan ay may mga signages na walang sigarilyong tinitinda sa tindahan nila,” he said.

Paz said there are around five sari-sari stores that are not compliant and are located within the center of Puerto Princesa City.

He did not disclose their names, but he said that under the Tobacco Regulation Act or Republic Act 9211, “any person or any business entity or establishment selling to, distributing or purchasing a cigarette or any other tobacco products for a minor shall be fined the amount of not less than P5,000 or an imprisonment of not more than 30 days”.

Tobacco products should not be sold or even advertised within 100 meters from schools, public playgrounds, or places commonly visited by minors.

“Para rin ito sa lahat hindi lang sa health ng mga naninigarilyo, na mature, syempre para rin sa mga makikita ng ating mga estudyante. Hindi lang ano natin na baka ang estudyante ay bumili ng sigarilyo, pero yong culture na nakikita nila na may naninigarilyo,” Paz added.

Retail and sari-sari stores that are non-compliant can be issued notices of violation, he said.