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PIA Press Release

Ifugao resolution enacting "moma" ordinance passed

by Dan B. Codamon

LAGAWE, Ifugao (15 September) -- Taking cognizance of the problem brought about by the increasing number of betel nut chewers in this municipality and the whole province, the Sangguniang Bayan here passed a resolution regulating the chewing and spitting of "Moma" (betel nut) in public places and within government offices and its vicinity and providing penalties for its violation.

Dubbed as "Moma Ordinance of the Municipality of Lagawe", this law provides measures and actions to promote better health and sanitation and show their dedication in the implementation of their clean and green program.

This calls for all moma chewers who are in the municipality to properly dispose their spittle thus controlling their "freedom of spit".

"Moma" consists of betel nut, betel leaf, betel fruit, lime and tobacco that is being chewed by a person which when blended with the saliva will produce a bloody red spittle (saliva or spit).

Moma chewing has already been a craze in this scenic province and home of the majestic rice terraces afflicting many of its people including students, farmers, teachers, pupils and officials alike.

Some people remarked that this vice can already be considered as part of the cultural identity of the Ifugao people that if you go to other places and see stains of red spittle, there is a high probability that it was caused by them.

Moma chewers declared that this practice is a better substitute for smoking that gives them a feeling of highness and excitement, increase their appetite for food and even enhance their libido.

However, with the growing addiction to it, the non-regulation of the freedom of these people to spit anywhere is causing annoyance to the public aside from making the environment look ugly.

It is because the spittle as a product of the moma chewing when discharged anywhere causes red stains to anything it can come in contact with creating an unhealthy and unsanitary surrounding.

The Sanggunian members have scheduled public hearing and consultation with the people of Lagawe for additional inputs or suggestions to make the ordinance more effective before its implementation.

Penalties for its violation include fines of P50.00 for the first offense to P250.00 for the third offense and civic service that involves the sweeping of the streets and scrubbing the red spittle from the area where it was discharged.

Proceeds of the fines will accrue to the trust fund of the municipality in the maintenance of its clean and green program.

Implementing agencies identified include the Philippine National Police of Lagawe, Barangay Tanods and Personnel of the Municipal Treasury Office.

Full implementation will be done in October and this will be a test case not only for Lagawe but for the whole province and I hope this ordinance will not be declared unconstitutional as this will be a test case when it abrogates some personal liberties, quips Vice Mayor Roscoe Kalaw of this town. (PIA Ifugao) [top]

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