Baguio regulates chewing of betel nut

The city government will no longer allow the practice of indiscriminate spitting in public after chewing betel nut, locally known as “moma”.

The city council early this month passed the anti-moma ordinance, which prohibits chewing and spitting of betel quid in public places and selling of moma products to minors to maintain cleanliness and discipline in the city.

The latest ordinance was passed following a recommendation from the city council research division for the updating of a 1980s ordinance that regulates spitting moma.

Councilor Joel Alangsab, who authored the ordinance, said the law does not prohibit chewing of betel nut even in public places due to a cultural practice attached to it but aimed to regulate indiscriminate spitting and disposal of betel nut.

“For sanitation purposes. We ask our brothers to bring with them a container where they can spit and not just anywhere,” Alangsab said.

The saliva turns into red once a betel nut is chewed. It leaves stains along roads and walls once spitting is done in public.

Alangsab said the ordinance requires a person to use a container or a spittoon while doing moma.

“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,” Alangsab said.

Alangsab said violators are facing fines of PHP500 or will render four hours of community service for the first offense, PHP1,000 or six hours of community service for the second offense and PHP2,000 or eight hours of community service for the third and subsequent offenses.

The ordinance also created a task force that will oversee the implementation of the ordinance. Source: Philippines News Agency

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