Legazpi CHO hosts deputization of smoke-free enforcers, strengthens citywide smoke-control efforts

With the intent to bolster the enforcement of Legazpi City’s smoke-free ordinance, the City Health Office (CHO) hosted a two-day deputization of smoke-free enforcers event held at AVP Catering Services on Tahao Road, Legazpi City, on February 27 and 28.

Said event was comprised of a series of lectures addressing key aspects of Legazpi City’s comprehensive smoke-free ordinance, as well as essential enforcement skills and knowledge for smoke-free enforcers.

“We all want a smoke-free Legazpi, and we already have an ordinance firmly in place. Now, we are gathered here today to muster the necessary enforcement power meant to ensure its rigorous implementation,” Portia O. Rogando, Smoke-Free Program coordinator, stated.

30 volunteers from various city agencies were deputized during the event.

Notably, out of the 70 barangays in Legazpi City, only Barangay Lapu-Lapu took the proactive initiative to personally reach out to the CHO and ask to be deputized.

Lapu-Lapu Punong Barangay Ma. Karren Canon-Valdez emphasized how challenging it was for them to curb smoking in their barangay with limited regulatory and punitive authority.

“It is everyday that I see people in our barangay smoking, which is why I took it to myself to do something about it. We started with warning signs and announcements till it came to the point where we conducted house-to-house patrols as an attempt to mitigate the smoking problem. However, despite our efforts, we’ve just been left unheard,” PB Valdez. 

“Back then, we only had the voice for the bark, but now, with this deputization, we now have the teeth for the bite,” she added.

She also highlighted how she vowed to mandate city ordinances on a barangay level, which, according to Valdez, necessitates political will, not politically-motivated leniency.

Valdez was accompanied by two of her barangay health workers (BHWs) and one barangay kagawad. | Kian Kirby F. Florano