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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

OVER last weekend, the branch of a money express “padala” and pawnshop was held up by four men riding in tandem on two motorcycles. They were brazen enough not to wear any mask or motorcyclist helmets as required by law.

The armed men reportedly went in looking just like ordinary clients. But once inside, one of them pointed a gun at the teller, a woman, while another one was quick enough to slide down under the counter.

The teller had to open the vault. It was a Sunday and was supposedly going to be a busy for the day money shop, so it had a ready P300,000 that two of the armed men then carted away. The two other men acted as lookouts and drivers.


The operation was accomplished in a matter of minutes. It was swift and smooth, according to a witness who thought the men seemed familiar with the “job.” The police believed it was an inside work.

But a day earlier, two men were also gunned down in another barangay of our town. The two men were said to be hired laborers of a cattle raiser in Barangay Liki. The cattle raiser allegedly let the cattle graze on the farmers’ crops. But no one could openly say it was so.

One was killed in Barangay Vito along the old unfinished Balamban-Talamban road. The other is still in serious condition in the hospital.

But my point is that criminality in our town, which is recognized as an industrially progressive municipality with 74,000 people, is rising. Barangay Buanoy, where the hold-up incident involving Palawan Express Padala and Pawnshop happened, is also where Tsuneishi Ship-building Industries, a Japanese firm that has brought not just economic development to our town but also employment even to as far as Negros island.

What seems unfortunate is that, only a few days ago, a new chief of police took over.

The previous chief was reassigned reportedly to the provincial office.

The new one, who is from Luzon, immediately got his “baptism of fire” on the day he arrived in Balamban. I talked with a member of our town’s police force. I was told that he plans “to increase police visibility” with patrols.

However, I do not know how the new police chief would do it with his 23 men. Nine or ten of those men are “desk-bound”, that is, they do office work.

Undertaking roving patrols in an area that is almost as big as Cebu City, and with the kind of population that we have, is difficult. The private sector can pitch in with some form of volunteer work. Then that would be something, a social experiment.

In this sense, crime and criminality would emerge as a real community endeavor, a common collective problem that should actually be considered as a concern not just of the government or the public sector. The life one saves from crime and criminality must be taken as the life of every living human being in the community.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 06, 2014.


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