3 men pose as BFP inspectors, busted
Ma. Fatima R. Secuya (The Freeman) - September 25, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines -  Three men were arrested for pretending to be members of the Bureau of Fire Protection-7 and insisting to go inside the houses at a subdivision in Minglanilla, Cebu for inspection.

The arrest came after a real BFP member, who lives in the same subdivision, had busted them.

Senior Fire Officer 2 Paz Cuyno, duty investigator of BFP-Talisay City, posted on her Facebook account last week how she had busted the three posers who insisted to get inside the houses at Deca Homes in Tungkil, Minglanilla.

Cuyno, in an interview, said that at around 10 a.m. on Friday last week, she arrived at the subdivision and found some of her neighbors outside as if engaging in a commotion.

She asked what was happening and was told that three men wearing barong and who introduced themselves as firemen from the BFP-7 were sent to conduct inspection inside their houses.

However, a commotion occurred when the men allegedly “harassed” the homeowners and insisted to go inside their houses.

“Wa pud ko kahibawo giunsa pag-harass basta kay mopugos kuno og sulod. Nangasaba pa man gani kuno. I-intimidate siguro ang tagbalay,” said Cuyno.

When she saw the three Tagalog-speaking men, Cuyno said her suspicion aroused as the three looked unfamiliar to her.

“Nagduda na ko kay kaila man ko sa mga bombero,” she said, adding that BFP members who are assigned in a certain area should only inspect the houses in their jurisdiction.

With this, she said she secretly told the security guards to ask for police assistance.

Cuyno said she then asked the three men their assignment area but she was not answered directly and was told that they were just inspecting the houses.

She asked for the inspection order and was just showed with a certificate of inspection, whose address was Quezon City.

“Mga Tagalog man sila unya puro mga lalaki. Sa inistoryahan ug barog, klaro nga dili g’yud mao. Unya, naa na man g’yud na sa amoa nga it should be on the convenience of the homeowners and not on the persons who would conduct inspection,” said Cuyno.

Two of the suspects were brought to the police station while the other one managed to escape.

The incident was not recorded in the police blotter and the two were later released since no one showed up to file complaints against them.

Fire Officer 3 Wendell Villanueva, spokesperson of the BFP-7, said they are indeed mandated to conduct inspection in buildings or establishments especially if the owner has already acquired a building permit.

“We will be furnished with the copies of these records from the City Hall for us to conduct the inspection,” said Villanueva.

Villanueva reminded household members to immediately look for the identification card duly issued by the BFP from anyone who would inspect their houses, claiming to be employees of BFP.

The house owner should also look for the inspection order signed by the City Fire Marshal or the Municipal Fire Marshal, added Villanueva.

Villanueva further informed that BFP personnel sent to conduct inspection in houses would usually wear their uniforms and not just any kind of dress.

“Bihira ra kaayo nga magbarong. Naa mi mga non-uniformed personnel, makabarong sila but tagsa ra g’yud kaayo,” he said.

Villanueva also said that the BFP is not engaged in selling any fire protection equipment, this to address reports that there were persons who also pretended to be BFP agents and sold fire safety devices.

“It is very alarming that the BFP has been used by lawless elements to take advantage of something,” said Villanueva.

The BFP-7 official assured that they are conducting inspections in the proper and legal way. —/NSA (FREEMAN)

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