CPOC argues: Protocols on VIPs won’t infringe freedom to travel PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 March 2016 13:21

By VIC LARATO

The protocols or standard procedures that the City Peace and Order Council is proposing for visiting lecturers-cum speakers or very important persons, whether foreigners or domestic, does not intend nor will ever stop people from coming to Zamboanga City.

Mayor Beng Climaco, chair of the CPOC, declared that Zamboanga is an open city and as such everybody is welcomed to come and savor the innate beauty, diverse cultures, faiths and traditions.

“The city cannot say NO whoever wants to come, and everybody or any group for that matter can invite speakers from anywhere as long as the activity is within the bounds of law,” the CPOC clarified.

But, Climaco stressed the “protocols” is only a system to protect the visiting speakers and the constituents, even as she added that the function of disallowing the travel lies in the Bureau of Immigration (BoI).

“The presumption is, once BoI approves the travel of foreigners to the country, then they are free to go anywhere (once inside),” she said.

This developed after a Saudi Islamic scholar and his embassy attaché companion, were shot and wounded Tuesday night outside the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) gymnasium.

Thus, under the CPOC resolution, any organization or institution wishing to invite speakers-cum lecturers must inform and coordinate with the local government unit and the police at least one week before or prior to the event.

“The one week period will give us the opportunity to scrutinize or check on the background of the invitees, share and evaluate the information whether or not their presence in the city will be secured for them and the participants or Zamboanga City in general,” Climaco further said.

In this manner, the CPOC members were hopeful that Tuesday’s untoward incident will not happen in the future. — Vic Larato