Time to help ourselves

By Ermin Garcia Jr.



COMMUNITIES are beginning to be more conscious of efforts of the Philippine National Police leadership in the province and in the cities to keep the peace and order in check through various operations, from higher visibility to seizure of loose firearms to establishing checkpoints coupled with the Oplan Double Barrel for the war on drugs are gaining public support and confidence.

Efforts to rid the police stations of scalawags help gain respect for the dedicated police personnel.

But their efforts can never be enough because criminal minds are almost always two steps ahead of the law. And there is technology that helps them. Can we ever beat the criminals in our midst?

My answer, Yes.  We can make the community they target a much smaller place to work in. How? By letting them know that the community is watching them 24/7! And this is possible today with technology helping us.

Let’s install CCTV cameras in all road intersections in barangays, every inch of business district strategically covered by cameras, bus, jeepney and tricycle terminals and all entry points of schools and universities, restaurants and movie houses, etc. are within range of cameras.

And I am not suggesting that our local governments provide the hardware because that would drain resources intended for basic services.

It should be a major concern and undertaking for the private sector, the primary targets of criminals.

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DAGUPAN AS A POTENTIAL MODEL. Today, CCTV cameras are already affordable and with that in mind, business, civic and professional groups can come together to plan how to make their communities safer by keeping an eye on criminal activities 24/7.   

In Dagupan City, the man who can possibly initiate the launching of such an ambitious but doable action is the city police’s OIC police chief Supt. Jandale Sulit.  Given what we have seen so far, he appears to be the “Just do it“ man for the city with Mayor Belen Fernandez backing it all the way. 

Offhand, Mr. Sulit can invite the key officers of the local chamber of commerce, Fil-Chinese and Fil-Indian business groups, Rotary and Lions Clubs, Jaycee chapters, bankers, lawyers and accountants groups, radio communication groups, village associations, etc. to a roundtable meeting to discuss the plans and objectives of establishing ‘Operation 24/7 Public Eye’ (just a suggestion to give the concept a face).

Basically, the meeting should agree on the concept, and the mechanics for collaboration follows, i.e., who should cover what area, what protocol should be established, etc. Motorists’, radio communications groups (yes, including tricycle drivers) can agree on a protocol over the use of dashcams and GoPro cameras while they move around the city.

With these in place, whether criminals choose to use motorcycles or cars as getaway vehicles, it leaves very little probability that they cannot be traced or identified. Sure, criminals may not be deterred but payback will almost be certain.  

But will Dagupeños be willing to do their share to protect themselves fully?

If this happens at all, Dagupan City will easily become the world’s model for public-private partnership in crime fighting and prevention.

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NOISE BUSTER. Thank heavens, Dagupan City finally got around to passing an ordinance outlawing the use of modified mufflers by irresponsible motorists and motorcycle owners who try to catch attention the only way they know how as they cruise around the city particularly at night.

And thanks to Councilor Red Erfe-Mejia’s initiative, the ordinance will go a long way in making the city’s streets quiet and peaceful 24/7 like most towns.

While one cannot argue with Councilor Joey Tamayo’s position that a possible legal issues might be raised over the ordinance’s adoption in view of the national law on the issue, the passage of the ordinance takes cognizance of the noise pollution as a local issue that demands local initiative and action.

But having the ordinance is one thing, enforcing it as another. If barangay kapitans will not be keen on enforcing it, the ordinance will just be another piece of paper out of the city council.

Let’s hope Mr. Erfe-Mejia will do more than just getting the ordinance passed but will take it upon himself to see to its strict enforcement in the city. His will be the legacy of being the city’s Mr. Noise Buster!

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JUSTICE IN WAR ON DRUGS.  The BJMP District Jail in Dagupan City is bursting at the seams whose occupants are mostly drug offenders.

A cursory look at the scheduled cases in all the regional trials courts at the Justice Hall in Dagupan City tells you that about 90% of cases docketed in their courts are drug cases.

Knowing this, it’d be interesting to see who among the judges and prosecutors are with the government’s war on drugs and who are in the pockets of drug syndicates. It is public knowledge that prosecutors and judges have been and still are vulnerable targets and easy preys to the drug lords. So let’s see who will set the drug dealers free for the flimsiest reasons.

I recall then Guv Spines calling out the corrupt prosecutors and judges who were quick to dismiss drug cases on the smallest technicality, and even went to say he knew who were in the pockets of the drug lords. Like President DU30, he said he hates drugs.

In this regard, I strongly suggest a movement of court watchdogs be organized. And the man fit to lead it would be Cong. Spines! The province’s efforts in the war on drugs can be won with the service of such a movement – Drug Watchdogs – It’s time we hail the honest judges and prosecutors, and expose the corrupt!

If he could lead the movement it would be the best vindication for Cong. Spines after being unfairly listed as a drug protector by PDU30, a cheap ploy resorted to by his political enemies.

So how about it, Cong Spines? Continue to help the war on drugs with a drug-watch movement! Lead the way, we follow!

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WISHING ASHOK WELL. The shooting of our new contributing-columnist Ashok Vasandani last Tuesday night so shocked the community of civic society.

Ashok’s work as a philanthropist, helping disabled and homeless persons has already determined that legacy for him.  Who would suspect that a person like him would be the target for liquidation? But as Police chief Jandale Sulit revealed in an interview, Ashok admitted he received a death threat days before the shooting.

Apparently, Ashok did not take the threat seriously. But what apparently saved him from certain death was the change in his routine, from having a driver with him and driving the car by himself that fateful evening. The would-be killer aimed at the passenger’s seat where he always sat.

That should be a lesson for all. Try to break a routine occasionally Meanwhile, let’s wish Ashok early recovery so he can serve and help more Pangasinenses.

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