Following the recent arrest of a fake anti-smoking enforcer, the City Government of Tagum alerted the public about individuals pretending to be members of the Anti-Smoking Task Force, who extort money to persons smoking or vending tobacco products in public areas.
The Tagum City Police arrested Jake de Veyra Gandiza, 42, on Monday for allegedly extorting cash to violators of the City Ordinance No. 703 in the city’s public market and terminal. After receiving a complaint, the local police hurried to the public market and apprehended Gandiza who initially introduced himself as an intelligent officer of Mayor Allan Rellon but failed to provide evidence to prove such. Gandiza was caught bringing fake citation certificates.
The local police clarified that Gandiza has no connections to the government or any authorizations to apprehend violators and demand money from them.
Gift Ryan Damolo, member-counsellor of the task force, said that people who were caught violating the anti-smoking ordinance should inquire the agency that the arresting officers are associated with to confirm legality. He also emphasized that only members of the Tagum City Police, Security Management Office and Traffic Management Office are authorized to apprehend violators and give citation tickets.
Damolo likewise said that tickets produced by the city government as approved by other official agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue are authorized to be given to violators, and only in the City Treasurer Office that the payment should be done in three days’ time.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Smoking Task Force cascaded its enforcement of the ordinance down to the barangay level through the creation of the barangay-based task force which will be composed by the Barangay Captain, secretary, and barangay tanods as arresting officers.
This action is seen to boost the enforcement of the local ordinance, aside from enlarging the awareness of the adverse consequences of cigarette smoking.
The Task Force also encourages the public to contact them in their hotline numbers: 0955 411 1877, 0907 300 4053 and 218 7040; or to post a message in their Facebook page: Tagum City Anti-Smoking Task Force, to report violations and extend their inquiries. Roy Banias/CIO Tagum