Vices unit has a new head

THE VICES Regulation Unit (VRU) has now a new head in the person of Dr. Ashley Lopez, the former administrator of the city’s chest center.

City Administrator Zuleika Lopez, in an interview, confirmed the appointment of Lopez, who was also named co-vice chair of the newly reconstituted Anti-Smoking Task Force.

Prior to the establishment of the VRU, several units worked independently to implement local ordinances regarding vices, such as the Anti-Smoking Ordinance and the liquor ban.

Former VRU chief Voltaire Engracia has been reassigned to the city’s Bantay Dagat program being a former official of the Philippine Navy.

Earlier this month, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has ordered the intensified implementation of anti-tobacco regulations as she signed EO No. 36, which reconstituted the anti-smoking task force, on Oct. 6.

Under the measure, the city government reinforced the task force and told agencies such as the City Health Office, City Information Office, Davao City Police Office, Business Bureau, and the City Transport and Traffic Management Office to intensify information campaign against smoking.

These include cessation programs through the city and national government agencies such as the Department of Health.

According to the CIO, the VRU has apprehended 9,474 smoking violators from January to September, with 1,878 undergoing smoking cessation counselings, as mandated by the ordinance. In this same period, the city also declared 17 workplaces smoke-free.

The city has also earned almost P2 million in collections from smoking ban-related violations, according to the CIO. Aside from this, the city also fined various establishments a total of P110,000 for violations of the liquor ban.

The mayor ordered the CHO and the CIO to intensify awareness campaigns on the effects of smoking as well as exposure to second-hand smoke, in coordination with the Business Bureau. The CIO, meanwhile, was tasked to intensify its media campaign.

The CTTMO and the DCPO’s Traffic Group were likewise mandated to inspect no smoking signs in public utility vehicles and strictly monitor compliance.

The ASTF was tasked to update and prepare the procedures for the issuance of the certificate of compliance of designated smoking areas.

Duterte chairs the task force and Zuleika Lopez acts as co-chair.

The task force will also have a vice co-chairperson duly identified by the City Mayor’s Office.

Meanwhile, the task force will have representatives from the City Legal Office, CHO, Business Bureau, City Building Office, City Tourism Office, CIO, City Environment and Natural Resources Office, General Services Office, and the Davao City Police Office, as well as a Representative of the Private Sector.

The city’s anti-smoking task force has become a model nationwide for the implementation of a national law, Republic Act 9211, and an executive order released by President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this year.

Davao City amended Ordinance 0367-12, Series of 2012, otherwise known as,”The New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Davao.”

The strict ordinance includes electronic cigarettes and shisha, as well as other smoke-emitting recreational devices, even if not all of these contain nicotine.

Meanwhile, Lopez said that the city government has named an officer-in-charge for the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), Engr. Marivic Reyes.

Former chief of the Cenro Engr. Elisa Madrazo now handles special projects under the City Mayor’s Office, especially the greening program of the city. “It’s a big component of the Byaheng Do30 program,” Lopez said.

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