A haven for criminals? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 December 2017 14:12

San Jose, CA. — This question begs an honest answer: Is Zamboanga city safe?

From online news accounts, dozens of people have been arrested in a sweeping crackdown on drug pushers and users in some of Zamboanga’s troubled neighborhoods that netted meth and marijuana. The sweep was part of the police operation on some known notorious criminal gangs that have been targeting college students and young adults.

Unfortunately, the aggressive drive on gangs has not snared firearms or deadly weapons, not even in random checkpoints and choke points set up by either the police or Task Force Zamboanga. It seems like law enforcement agents target only motorists driving without helmets or on suspicion that they don’t possess a driver’s license or that their two-wheelers aren’t registered. Dynamic police reporter Dan Toribio has yet to report on arrests for crimes like murder, armed robbery, human trafficking, illegal recruitment, gunrunning and smuggling.

The police and TFZ have to be more funded to run after criminals and gangs that prey on hapless civilians even in broad daylight, criminal syndicates and inter-port drug-traffickers.  Cargoes and humans are loosely checked by deputized authorities while entering the Zamboanga port.

Authorities have also to deal with terrorism, now that El Presidente has declared the New People’s Army and communist intellectuals as terrorists. And if you think that the Muslim separatists seeking autonomy (a milder word for independence and self-rule) will give up their arms because of the assumed passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), think again. The 1996 peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is a living testament that the insurgents will never silence their guns unless they take Mindanao.

In the September 2013 dawn attack by deadly elements of the MNLF swearing allegiance to Prof. Nur Misuari, the people of the four barangays laid siege by the armed marauders had to flee their way out of the labyrinth of shanties and buildings. Today, City Hall struggles in its maze of bureaucracy to assure the uptight public that such a tragic episode is never, ever repeated. Is this why majority of our people favor the extension of Martial Law?

All framework of law and order since the assassination of the great Cesar C. Climaco seem to have failed. We have been bombed many times and laid siege twice. Our police force, reinforced by Task Force Zamboanga, have increased in numbers over the years. The city government have been helpful with the donation of firearms and vehicles to increase police mobility and visibility, but crimes have not diminished.

A simple law banning smoking in restaurants and public places can’t be enforced by the police. Now, City Hall is talking about going after litterbugs. Susmariajosep. The city government, or civic clubs, if the city  is too  kuriput to spend, should provide trash bins along Guardia Nacional and other commercial areas so that the dumbest of people can dispense of trash properly.

Despite some setbacks in law and order, officials are claiming that the city is safer now than she was four years ago. But the citizens say that law enforcers should work harder to ensure their safety by day and night.

Incidentally, when was the last city peace and order council meeting?