BONTOC, Mountain Province – The public is reminded to abide with the “No Spitting of Momma Anywhere” in consonance with the municipal ordinance that prohibits and penalizes unsanitary acts within the municipality.
Chewing betel nut on its own or mixing it with lime and gawed leaf and even tobacco is a popular habit in the highlands, however, spitting anywhere has become one of the sanitation problems of this capital town.
To address this, the Sangguniang Bayan of Bontoc passed Municipal Ordinance No. 125, s. 2008 that prohibits the spitting of momma or momma juice/ concoction /material in any place by any person other than in a private and personal spitting receptacle which must be carried by the person and in a manner that poses no inconvenience or disapproval from other people; and disposing of any momma material or spit unsanitary sight thereat or that evokes disapproval from other people.
In addition, no establishment, residence or place shall be found having its trash receptacle or its premises tainted with traces or indications of momma material. Also, the respective owner, operator, or occupant of establishments, residences, or place of business like vehicle parking/loading areas and retail stands/stalls, shall be held fully accountable for the desirable sanitations of their respective places pursuant to the provision of the ordinance.
Violator of this ordinance shall be fined P500.00 for the 1st offense, P750.00 for the 2nd offense and P1, 000.00 for the 3rd and succeeding offenses.
To further strengthen the implementation of the ordinance, barangay officials and the Green Police were given the authority by the municipal government to apprehend and issue citation ticket to anyone who violates the ordinance.
Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey who was then the Municipal Mayor when the ordinance was crafted mentioned that it is the municipality’s commitment to promote sanitation, health and convenience of its constituents.
With this, Odsey solicited the cooperation of everyone, emphasizing that everyone should take part in the clean and green program of the municipality.
“Momma chewers should bring their own spitting bottle and dispose this properly. The cleanliness and tidiness of our streets, public buildings and public conveyances reflect our attitude in compliance to the ordinance,” he mentioned.
Meanwhile, frequent betel nut chewers are advised to stop the habit as they may be at risk of acquiring oral or mouth cancer.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), betel nut itself has been classified as a carcinogen (carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Cancer.
Health studies reveal that people who chew betel nut with lime have an increased chance of developing mouth cancer and people who chew the mixture with tobacco have a greater risk of acquiring the disease.
The WHO specified that oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, gums, the lining of the mouth, or the lips. Warning signs of oral cancer include sore spots or ulceration of lips, tongue, or other areas inside the mouth that do not heal promptly; swelling of the lips, gums or other area inside the mouth; difficulty in chewing or swallowing; repeated bleeding in the mouth with no apparent cause, and numbness or loss of feeling in any part of the mouth.
Thus, betel nut chewers who are experiencing the symptoms are advised to visit their dentist for earlier intervention treatment.
The WHO also promotes oral health as an effective preventive measure against oral or mouth cancer. Accordingly, tooth brushing two to three times a day is the most effective and cost-effective way of keeping your teeth and mouth healthy.
By Alpine L. Killa