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Who will save us?


According to the recent estimate of City Police Director S/Supt. Edwin De Ocampo, there are now some 10,000 loose firearms in Zamboanga City, and to this fact he blames the current wave of nearly daily killings here with the use of guns. What makes these killings especially scary is that many of them are committed in broad daylight, in public areas, and the perpetrators are almost always neither identified nor caught at all. In other words, because they are committed with impunity, anybody can be an easy prey anytime.  Killed, as we say in local idiom, like a chicken. 

In this situation, officials who insist that Zamboanga is a peaceful city must be talking about peace of the graveyard.  Those who call these incidents isolated cases are the ones who seem isolated from reality.  But then, what can citizens expect from authorities who can’t stop even ragtag  tricycle drivers from regularly committing murder by arrogantly, grossly overcharging their passengers? If the victims don’t complain officially, it is likely because they have lost faith in their officials.

Such public’s loss of trust and confidence in the police and civilian authorities can only but worsen local criminality.  The police are right in demanding the cooperation of residents in fighting crime, who should provide them with whatever vital information about the criminals and their deeds. Obviously then, the police can greatly benefit from mobilizing and tapping the network of barangay tanods, CVOs, and militiamen – and reward them for specific achievements. Talking about reward, how – we ask – are intelligence funds being utilized, by the way?  

The science of crime prevention is neither mysterious nor that hard to implement.  The government has all the funds and logistics to do a good job.  What they lack in failing to do just that now is a mystery to concerned residents. 

Zamboanga is bursting with economic and social potentials and promise, but as always peace and order is the proverbial egg that comes before the chicken. Peace and order is the primary responsibility of government.  In the present dilemma, what is fundamentally true is that the people are not getting the kind of government they deserve. (Peace Advocates Zamboanga)


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