Crime out of Control

This week marked a crime-filled Christmas season in the Philippines. Today prominent Zamboanga De Sur Mayor Ukol Talumpa was shot and killed along with his wife and 19 month old niece at the heart of the Philippines' capital at Nnoy Aquino International Airport as he had just arrived from a flight. Four other bystanders were injured in the attacked wherein 20 shots were fired from a .45 cal pistol. The gunman escaped on board a motorcycle driven by an accomplice, and to date remains unidentified and at large. Yesterday, the wife of prominent lawyer Atty. Raymund Fortun was shot in the face by an unidentified assailant as she was alighting from her car in front of their house. The target was seemingly her husband, Atty Fortun. And last weekend, the nation's largest mall, SM North EDSA, right in the middle of the city, was robbed by the Martilyo Gang ("Hammer Gang") which used sledge hammers to break the glass displays of jewelries, of which some 5 million worth were stolen.

To date, no suspects or leads have been established.

Sugar coating the crime statistics of the Philippines to make it appear as if there is hardly any crime at all, is a disservice to the nation. As our police are wont to do, they bury their heads in the ground like ostriches in the hope that the problem will go away or solve itself. It won't. Rather, wisdom and solutions begin with critique. Admitting the decifiencies in our security and facing the problem squarely, is a much better solution. We wonder with amazement and disgust how such blatant crimes can be committed in broad daylight, in public and densely packed places, and against high profile and prominent individuals. Accordingly, we likewise fear that if the criminals could commit such crimes in such highly secured establishments and against such high profile persons, in broad daylight, with such impunity, what more could they do the same to us ordinary citizens. 

Lately, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been been making legitimate civilian gun ownership much more strict and difficult. Licensing and renwals as well as obtaining a permit to carry for a handgun, have become very lengthy and difficult processes. As such, we wonder aloud: if we are not allowed to protect ouselves who will? Where will the police be when these crimes come to our own doorsteps of our own homes and workplaces? Undoubtedly the low ratio of police to civilians in the Philippines, coupled with low budget, inadequate vehicles, communications, and equipment, pre-occupation with two insurgencies, and various organized criminal elements, makes it almost impossible for the police to be there "when it happens." Rather, police work is reactivie and more often than not arrives when the victim has already been robbed, raped, or killed.

We do not want to be counted as another statistic in the long list of victims of violent crime in the Philippines. We live in dangerous times. Let us be vigilant and never let our guard down. Preparedness and awareness in the face of threats of violent crime is not paranoia, on the contrary it is being practical, commonsensical, and downright smart.

Comments

crime out of control

Crimes proliferate because of law enforcement issues. Finding criminals is harder so blaming gun owners is its fall back. Guns become the central issue that result in the unproven strict gun control to control the uncontrolled crimes. Gun free zones had been tried only to the advantage of armed criminals. Gun ban was implemented only to disarm law abiding citizens and embolden crime perpetrators.

crime out of control

Crimes proliferate because of law enforcement issues. Finding criminals is harder so blaming gun owners is its fall back. Guns become the central issue that result in the unproven strict gun control to control the uncontrolled crimes. Gun free zones had been tried only to the advantage of armed criminals. Gun ban was implemented only to disarm law abiding citizens and embolden crime perpetrators.