For The RecordBong Bue, former president of Zamboanga Press Club
Is Zambo still safe?
What is left when suspects are freed? Find the answer elsewhere in this corner.
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Headline: “Mayor tells cops, AFP to enforce firearms ban.”
For The Record can see that La Bella’s Mayor Celso Lobregat is dead serious in his firearms ban campaign. But the question is: Are we gaining success over this campaign?
Hizzoner posted hundreds of firearms ban posters with his face in them in malls, department stores, government and private offices and other public places.
I believe there is no problem in enforcing this in places mentioned above.I believe security guards of different security agencies know their work.
This was properly established during the time of former City Police Director Sr. Supt. Mario Yanga, who really meant business when he enforced the gun ban in the city.
I know of an incident where Yanga pushed for the filing of a case of illegal possession of firearm against a Sulu official who tried to sneak in a local mall, thinking that Zamboanga City is still part of their war zone.
The apprehension of that official came when security guards of the mall immediately coordinated with the local police during Yanga’s time. And so the SWAT team of the local police rushed and cornered the gun-wielding official.
I’m not saying that the present PNP leadership is doing nothing on the gun ban issue. But I believe much has to be done. If Yanga showed a semblance of success in his gun ban drive where even the out-of-town pulitikos respected such arrangement like limiting the number of security escorts and eliminating the unnecessary brandishing of their weapons in public view, then the same must be done today.
The problem is in the streets where most of the killings occurred and where carrying of firearms is seemed irregularly checked. Checkpoints are established every now and then and I believe this is but just one of the good measures to counter the problem. But then anyone can just make a detour from it as they can see the checkpoints ahead already. And legally speaking, people manning the checkpoints cannot compel the car owners to open their vehicles for thorough inspection of possible concealed weapons unless they see them in public view.
More questions like: For whom is the gun ban? Who are the gun ban violators? And who are carrying guns around the city? For The Record will continue to discuss on this topic in one of our future issues as we need more time and space for this very interesting subject matter.
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In several instances, suspects in criminal cases are freed. Now only their sketches are in custody.
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And speaking of criminal incidents, last Saturday morning’s killing of a policeman along San Jose Road has caused many to ask “Is Zamboanga City still safe?”
It’s a natural reaction of people to fear for their safety when even policemen are being gunned down nowadays. Not long ago a PNP major was also shot dead along that San Jose Road. The rash of shooting incidents in Zamboanga City is something that the leadership of our local government unit should address instantly.
We cannot afford to hear more killings around… much more of policemen. This is really dragging us away from whatever growth and progress are at stake for us, if there is any.
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It’s really very ironic! The city is very serious in its gun ban campaign as suggested by those posters with the face of the mayor in them, and yet we can see people roaming around with heavily armed bodyguards.
For The Record learned that there was one recent incident when two groups of leaders of a neighboring place almost figured in a shootout in a local hotel. Some would go to public places with their armed escorts that even the number of Mayor Lobregat’s or Congressman Erbie Fabian’s escorts could not match with theirs.
Is Zamboanga still safe? Well, I just have to contend with Superman’s positive attitude and borrow his favorite line with modification, and I say : “I believe Zamboanga City statistically is still the safest place in this planet.”
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “Only by being on the level can we rise in the eyes of others.”