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Editorial | Whip-carrying masked riders

They’re back!

The last time we reported masked men whipping teenagers was in 2009, when around 30 complained about being victims of the “latigo gang” in Brgy 76-A.

The teenagers, who bore bruises and whip marks on their backs, described the attackers as wearing ski masks and riding motorcycles, in a convoy of four. They zoom past those who are still up after curfew on the seawall and strike them. Then Barangay 76-A chair Roberto Olan-Olan, denied having anything to do with the attacks even as he admitted the problem of riots among gangs in the area.

Now they’re back.

Supt. Alexander Tagum, Davao City Police Office director, directed the Sasa Police Station to investigate and identify the perpetrators. The police are eyeing the possibility that the perpetrators could be from another gang, a similar tack they used in explaining vigilante killings – that the killings were done by rival groups.

Capt. Nolan Tagsip, the DCPO spokesperson, in yesterday’s press conference said that one such victim reported to the police he was whipped during a riot in the Sasa area. If one has reported being caned during a riot, could there be more who suffered that same fate? Rival gangs hitting each other with sticks, wearing ski masks, and driving motorcycles stretches credulity. The image that comes to mind is downright funny.

What do parents think of this? With the ubiquitous police visibility in the city, augmented by the barangay auxiliary forces, one would think that these areas where riots erupt are already well monitored. How come these masked men wielding canes elude their notice?

Curfew starts at 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. How is curfew implemented at the barangay level? Are parents even aware that unaccompanied minors are no longer allowed to roam the streets at this time?

All of us believe in protecting children from harm and abuse, but at what lengths do we go in disciplining our future generation?

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