Making Dagupan crime-proof

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THE report about the still unsolved kidnapping of R1MC ‘s two health workers in Dagupan City should already be cause for serious worry and alarm.

With no contact made by the abductors with families of the two victims for possible ransom, one can only wonder what the ultimate goal for the kidnapping could be.

That it happened in broad daylight, it surely can happen again because the criminal syndicates are obviously becoming bolder than at anytime in the past.

It is time for the city government and the community to decide how and where to stop the criminals.

For this reason, I reiterate my suggestion in my February 11 column to make the city “crime-proof” of a hazardous and dangerous zone for criminals. How? By installing CCTV cameras not only in all entry points to the city but in all barangays, and more!

The investigation on the kidnapping of the two health workers would have easily led to the owners of the van that whisked away the two if there were CCTV cameras where they should be.

By launching what I might call a ‘Operation 24/7 Public Eye’ campaign or program (just a suggested title), the empowered residents would be more conscious, alert and vigilant towards prevention of crime in their communities.

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‘OPERATION 24/7 PUBLIC EYE’.  Imagine the impact of installing 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. making them all within range of cameras, criminals will have to think harder and thrice how to disappear without being detected.

I do not propose that the city government takes on the massive installation and management of the infrastructure by itself. In fact, I do believe that such an initiative can have better results and impact if achieved and accomplished in partnership with the communities and private sector.  It is time for the private sector to finally put its money where its mouth is, and where it counts for them!

For starters, inviting 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 summit meeting alone will underscore the urgency for effective solutions to achieve real zero-crime target.

I have no doubt a summit can agree on the parameters and the mechanics for collaboration, i.e., who should cover what area, what protocol should be established to include car owners, radio communications groups (yes, including tricycle drivers) over the use of dashcams and GoPro cameras while they move around the city. 

After all, it’s bout their and their families’ security.

With these are in place, whether criminals choose to use motorcycles or cars or motorboats or public transport as getaway vehicles, it would leave very little probability that they cannot be traced or identified. Sure, criminals may not be fully deterred but payback will almost be certain and prosecution will be easy.   

The next best thing about it is it will make the city the most preferred investment destination because it is the safest place to do business.

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A THIRD TOILET AGAIN?  Here we go again on the issue of sexual discrimination against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders, Questioning, Queer (LGBTQ+).

Both the House of Representatives and Senate are campaigning for the passage of their respective versions of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE).

Yet, I recall an initiative attempted at the provincial board some years back proposing a third toilet to be constructed and provided in all establishments. This corner vehemently opposed the idea because instead of helping stop the discrimination, the proposed measure only serves to galvanize the discrimination – different toilets for two genders but for different lifestyles!

I reiterate my objection to the SOGIE bill not so much for its anti-Christian context but to stop fomenting segregation among our people and within our families.

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SOGIE, DISCRIMINATORY BILL. There is no need for a SOGIE law.

Why should the killing of a gay or transgender or lesbian be treated different from what is plain homicide or murder?

Why shouldn’t a student who is gay or transgender or lesbian or any straight student be refused enrollment in schools if they are notoriously creating trouble and scandal in campuses?

Why should SOGIE law be passed just to have the precursor for same-sex marriage when couples, whether straight of same sex already freely live-in together without any sanction of marriage? 

A special law for LBGTQ+ only serves to highlight the discrimination when most if not all communities are no longer wary of differences in lifestyles.

Whether one is lesbian or gay or transgender, there are only two genders in this world – male and female with distinct sex organs.

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LGBTQ+ NOT AN ISSUE. If straight and LGBTQ+ individuals find absolutely nothing wrong patronizing establishments that only provide one common comfort room for all, why should there be three?

Most TV sitcoms and entertainment variety shows today are bannered by members of LGBTQ+. Vice Ganda of ABS-CBN is one of many who are highly paid because they make the grade, not because they are LGBTQ+.  The same is true among practitioners in radio and print journalism sector. They are respected not because they are LGBTQ+ but because they are professional and respectable in their own right.

Fashionable women go to parlors that have LGBTQ+ not because they are that but because they are more creative in hairstyling than their female counterparts. The same is true for choices of dress designers and couturiers. They are simply better. Show me a non-performing LGBTQ+ and I can show more non-performing straight guys and girls!

My point is: People and communities have since learned that differences in biological make-up and or lifestyles make no difference, and no impact on how others live.  Sure many are bullied, but so are straight guys and girls, particularly the nerdy, skinny and deemed ugly types but they survive and become stronger than the bullies. Besides, there’s a law on anti-bullying that is genderless.

Imagine the impact on children when they see people going in and out of a public toilet reserved only for LGBTQ+. It tells them one message –  there is discrimination.  But no child will suspect discrimination if people enter and exit from an enclosed cubicle inside comfort rooms for privacy.

Imagine, too, a child who grows to be gay or lesbian, demanding that he or she should have a private toilet apart from what the rest of the family uses because the law says they are entitled to that right!

Members of the LGBTQ+  that excel or fail are just as good or bad as the straight guys and girls. The only difference between males, females, gays, lesbians, transsexuals lies in our individual personal tastes in lifestyles, partners, friends and perceptions. What they cannot deny is everyone is part of one gender or the other.

We have enough laws and ordinances intended to apply to all. We don’t need a law or ordinance that only protects one sector because of a difference in lifestyle.

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