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Zamboanga: A city of killings and apathy

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We believe in the beauty and potential of our hometown but while we do so, today, the reality
on the gun killings in Zamboanga City is a reason to be concerned and vigilant.
This kind of criminality has become a culture and for some, their bread and butter. We have
had enough of tragic trauma on bombings, kidnappings and now gun killings. As residents of
Asia's Latin City, we demand better from our officialdom.
Today, the gunshot toll has gone up to more than 101 victims and still counting. There would be even more unless the city's issue on the proliferation or criminality of loose firearms is
addressed with conviction, either politically or by law.
The proliferation of loose firearms around Zamboanga City has become unrestricting. This is
apparent on the shooting crimes reflected on the reporting of the local news agencies and
public information. Law enforcers are urged to publicly inform Zamboangueños on the real
statistics of these killings. We deserve to know the truth.
These crimes happen in various barangays of the city. Statistics reveal that it can even be
considered a daily crime. If not, every other day, someone is either shot dead or is critically
wounded by shooting incidents in various barangays.
As we are proud of our heritage, we cannot be proud of a "killing or shooting" culture. When
civilians have no access to firearms and use these weapons for criminality, slaying lives of
Zamboangueños just that, one's life becomes an easy target. No one is spared.
It is not only about killing who or why, but mainly it is about how individuals or criminals are
able to have access on weapons that should only be limited to authorities and should be used
on safety and security purposes bound with the laws of the land.
Do our law enforcers or our city officials have forgotten that prevention is better than cure,
how intensive have they been with their measures to keep the communities free from gun
violence or any kind of criminality?
If other cities can achieve peace and order, free from frequent criminality, can we not do the
same?
The irony of it all, Zamboanga City has the presence of law enforcement agencies and yet the
threats to the citizenry's security over gun violence or criminality have not been deliberately
eliminated.
More than a challenge, it is a crucial responsibility of our leaders to take out criminality in the
community. Gun violence or proliferation of loose firearms must not exist in a city that is proud
of its natural and cultural heritage.
If indeed, we as a city would aspire to be an example of good governance and community peace building in its true essence, without any "projections", the killing incidents must stop, the criminality must end.
We have to face the reality, the truth. We cannot build on our images for tourism or marketing purposes only. We have to be responsible citizens. All of us have to take a role and take a risk to some extent.
For as long as these facts and figures on the gunshot victims rise or worsens, this reality mirrors a culture of killings and apathy. We have ourselves to blame if we do not pro-act on this
alarming reality.
We have to be Zamboangueños saving Zamboangueños.

By JENG CRUZ




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