Celso to Zambo stakeholders: ‘Be very vigilant but stay sober’ PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 29 October 2011 16:28

In the wake of the present situation in the city arising from the incidents in nearby Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay provinces, Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday challenged the multi-stakeholders in Zamboanga “to be very vigilant but stay calm.”

“It is always better to be safe than sorry. We have to be very active but let us not be over reactive. We have to be very alert but at the same time calm,” Lobregat emphasized during the multi-stakeholders’ meeting, which was attended by hundreds of barangay officials, business, industrial, academe, ploice, military and various sectors.

“We have to be vigilant and alert but let us not give the perpetrators a moral victory by showing fear and panic. The city and the people are once again being challenged but we have been tried and tested many times over before. These incidents have forced us to take one step backward, but let us take two, three, four
and many more steps forward,” the mayor said.

According to him, no less than Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. had said during his visit for the first time to the city, was impressed with the potentials, vibrancy and magnificence of Zamboanga. Referring to the twin explosion a day before he arrived, Jimenez said “the incident was very unfortunate, but it was nothing to 800,000 Zamboangaueños celebrating their history. There were only twp blasts. There were 800,000 explosions of talents and goodwill in your city.”

Lobregat also quoted former Press Secretary Jess Dureza, who said in his published article “Zamboanga Hermosa” that “The heavy turnout of revelers was a strong signal to the world. This showed how residents of Zamboanga had steeled themselves and resolved not to allow the ‘bad guys’ to dominate their lives.

In closing, the chief executive declared that in the midst of all these incidents, he will be tapping the services of force multipliers—barangay tanod, barangay intelligence networks and civilian volunteer organizations, blue guards of private establishments.

He also asked owners of business establishments to remind their blue guards or security guards the very purpose they were hired for—to properly frisk people entering their premises and to strictly check on baggage being deposited in counters.

Lobregat also urged residents of this city to report to the authorities any suspicious-looking individuals and package or items in their area. “Never tinker with the items.”

“Above all,” he said, “cooperation, support and assistance of all sectors is needed. The military, police and the local government cannot do it alone. Everybody has to be involved in this situation. Each one of you was called for a purpose—cooperation and support.”

In his briefing, Sr. Supt. Edwin De Ocampo, officer-in-charge of the Zamboanga City Police Office, lamented that the peace and order situation in Zamboanga City has been disturbed by untoward incidents that caused apprehensions among the peace-loving Zamboangueños.

De Ocampo was referring to the bombing incident inside an eatery in Sangali on Oct. 26 at 9:30 p.m. wherein a 17-year-old construction worker was killed and six other people were injured. Three bags containing explosive devices were also recovered and subsequently detonated in the vicinity.

He also reported on the chance encounter between Task Force Zamboanga sea patrollers and four fully armed men off Taluksangay on Oct. 25 at 8:25 p.m. that resulted in the death of one soldier and wounding 3 others.

On Oct. 9, when the city was in the thick of the fiesta festivities, two bombs exploded almost at the same time; the first at the cockpit in San Roque with five injured victims and the other at Red Palm Hotel near the bus terminal in Guiwan where six people were injured.

According to De Ocampo, the components in the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used in Sangali and San Roque bombings were the same, leading to conclusion that the incidents were the handiworks of the same lawless elements taking advantage of the volatile situations in Basilan and Sibugay, whose objective is to create havoc and confusion in Zamboanga.

“The situation was further aggravated by the barrage of text messages that sow fear among the residents of the city.

Col. Buenaventura Pascual, TFZ commander, also presented a situationer of the city’s internal security plan including the identities of the bombing suspects and the arrest of other criminal elements, ranging from extortionists to armed criminals. — Vic Larato