Remember Artikulo 21

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THE crackdown on tambays nationwide is actually long overdue, but as expected the bleeding hearts took the opportunity to take center stage by protesting it. And who are they?

Believe me when I say that those protesting are the same folks who’ve been lamenting the poor peace and order in their own communities.

They are the hypocrites who cry out that they feel helpless against petty criminals in the neighborhood. They are the folks who despise persons who shit on any empty hidden space, who pee on any wall, who drink and smoke in public places, who take to videoke as their right to stardom. They who curse motorcycles riders who disturb their sleep at night with their loud mufflers, they who cuss those who bully the children, gays, and old women, etc.

These are the people who whine and complain endlessly that laws and ordinances are not being strictly enforced on others but consider themselves exempted and above the law.

Did I miss anything?

Gosh, finally, we have a president-mayor who understands that our peace and order problems today started with our being tolerant at all times, starting with no heart (political will) to enforce even local ordinances.

Finally, we have a president-mayor telling us that being poor is not an acceptable alibi to commit crimes. Rich or poor, nobody is above the law.

Is that a bad thing?

In Dagupan City, the Belen Fernandez administration capsulized the seeming petty crimes invoked in city ordinances under Artikulo 21 in a bid to show that it is discipline that makes a people a community.

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ENOUGH OF DRUG-CLEARING PROGRAM. Pangasinan police and the mayors should already move on from their drug-clearing program mindset to winning their battles quarterly.

The truth is – it is impossible to attain a drug-free status in the province unless you are Sto. Tomas town where kamay na bakal contra droga is the law. 

Those who believe they rightfully earned the drug-cleared status on paper should not believe for one moment that such a status is carved in stone. The drug syndicates would be the first to thumb heir noses at the police, mayors and kapitans, if this is believed to be so.

There are and will always be new and emerging drug personalities whose names will be added to the drug watch list. When that happens, the barangay and the town immediately cannot continue to claim their town/city as drug-cleared.

Truthfully, a town/city can only claim to be drug-cleared if its drug watch list is empty.

But it is to the credit of the barangay kapitan, police chief and mayor when they acknowledge the presence of new and emerging drug pushers and users in their communities because it means they are on the ball, continuously trying to keep their communities safe.

The worst that can happen is to have officials who continue to be in denial even in the face of reports of drug trading, claiming to be drug-cleared showing the certificates as proofs.

Pangasinan PNP, henceforth, should no longer bother with results of validation of towns and cities by the regional committee that have been declared drug-free especially if the validation still has not been made two months since its declaration.

Towns and cities that report arrests of drug pushers and their subsequent reformation may not have a drug-cleared status but it speaks highly of the dedication of law enforcers and local officials to their duties and mission.

Communities will be served best if the “drug-cleared” certificate program is ended and shifts to “body-count” mindset. Let’s adopt the scorecard system where towns/cities that record the highest number of arrests and reformed users/pushers and those that have zero arrests (because of a truly drug-free” status on a quarterly basis) as basis for citation by the Pangasinan PNP and provincial government.

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CONSTRUCTION SHORTCUTS. As the commercial development along the JDVEX in Dagupan surges, I wonder if the Dagupan City engineering office has developed a sewage plan for the area to ensure that flooding does not become a common feature in that commercial district.

The rush to construct buildings and right of way roads are a sight to behold but it’s not unusual for many of the building owners to resort to shortcuts for their respective advantages. But that’s for the city engineer to find out.

Ultimately, the city engineering office must be held accountable if it fails to strictly supervise the construction of the buildings.

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DISAGREEMENTS AMONG THE BISHOPS.  At the rate the clergy is taking potshots at the Duterte government, the strategy to oust PDU30 will inevitably boomerang.  And the signs are already there.

First of all the bishops are not united on the purpose, and secondly, bishops and priests do not agree on the approach.

Case in point is the disagreement that broke out in public between the bishops, priests and nuns aligned differently: the peacemakers with Cardinal Tagle and the radicals with Archbishop Villegas.

The recent development now begs more questions than answers.

Is Archbishop Villegas willing to disobey and discredit Cardinal Tagle? If he does, won’t that constitute a violation of his sacred vow of obedience?

Will Cardinal Tagle censure the radicals, among them Archbishop Villegas and Fr. Robert Reyes for openly taking political actions contrary to teachings of the Catholic Church?

Will the CBCP act on the growing dissension among the bishops? (And where is Archbishop Oscar Cruz in all these?)

From all appearances, it will be PDU30 who is going to have the last laugh.

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MANDATORY DRUG TEST. My belated high-five to the Dagupan City councilors for adopting the resolution requiring all city hall officials, including barangay and SK officials, to take the drug test to be administered by PNP accredited laboratories.

It is the only credible way to impress upon their constituents that the city government is taking a hardline position on illegal drugs.

I hope (and pray) the provincial board will have the political will to direct all elected officials and employees of LGUs to take the drug test as well.

Such a move will certainly make a difference for this and future generations.

Again, I doff my hat to the Dagupan City Councilors!

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