Sunday, March 17, 2013

People's March against Crime and Violence

Concerned Citizens of Cagayan de Oro staged their protest march against alarming incidence of crimes in the city on March 17, 2013. The march started at the Rodelsa Circle or rotunda and ended at the Vicente de Lara Park at the Misamis Oriental Provincial Capitol. It was attended by civil society groups, relatives of the victims, members of the police and the military and concerned citizens. In the park, the participants of the march held a brief program in a kiosk where the organizers, the family members of the victims and police and military officers delivered short speech.   


Most heists are perpetrated by criminals riding in tandem on motorcycle. Usual victims are women or those who have lesser physical capability to defend themselves against ruthless criminals who are usually armed with a caliber 9 mm or .45 in. pistol. When opportunity presents itself, criminals on motorcycle grab the bag or other things containing cash or other valuable of the victims. They have no hesitation of shooting and killing a victim if she or he resists or refuses to give his or her money or belongings to them. A person in the vicinity who plays a hero for the victim will be shot too. It is ironic that as of late crimes are committed with the use of guns when COMELEC and other concerned government authorities are supposed to implement the gun ban.

Lately, the criminals become so daring that victims are robbed and killed even near the vicinity of their home, and businessmen are held up inside their establishment even during broad daylight. One recent victim of the spate of crimes committed in the city was a money changer who was about to board a taxi. The robber who was waiting for him in a nearby store suddenly rushed to the victim, shot him and grabbed the bag containing cash and other valuables worth more than a million pesos.

The people of Cagayan de Oro call their place as a “City of Golden Friendship”. The slogan is indicative of their hospitable and friendly dispositions. Those traits made the city a magnet for immigrants and investors from other places. They also made Cagayan de Oro as one of the most peaceful cities of the Philippines. The series of crimes committed against law-abiding citizens of the city is threatening to destroy the good image of a peaceful city on which Cagayan de Oro has been known for.

For a growing city in the Philippines such as Cagayan de Oro crimes are bound to happen. And the normal course of event is to identify and arrest the criminal and bring him to the bar of justice. But the people of the city observe that many of the perpetrators of kidnappings, bombings, robberies and killings are not caught and punished. And it seems that local civilian and police authorities are helpless to do something about the crimes.

Although the number of people who attended the march was significantly small, the participants have conveyed their message to concerned government authorities. The message includes important issue on the safety of the residents, the prevention of crimes and the giving of justice to the family of victims of criminal elements.