DAVAO City’s security forces are now in the thick of preparations for the holding of community exercises aimed at testing the response capability of people against possible attacks of communist rebels and other terrorist groups.
The idea came in the wake of reports that the New People’s Army (NPA) is contemplating to revive its strategy against the government using the treacherous assassin’s group in the 80s called the Sparrow Unit.
It may be recalled that the NPA’s Sparrows were tagged as responsible in the killings of government soldiers, civilians and other personalities identified cooperating with the government in the fight against the rebels.
Davao City used to be the hotbed of liquidations almost daily that certain streets have been identified as dumping grounds of the Sparrow’s victims. On the other hand, the city was not immune to attacks of suspects tagged to be members of other terrorist organizations operating in Mindanao.
The airport, Sasa pier, and the September 2016 Roxas bombing experiences that claimed several lives of innocent civilians were the handiwork of terrorist groups out to sow havoc in society and to insult security forces capability to deter their heinous crimes.
Davao City’s security forces believe that concerned members of the community can very well help thwart these kinds of criminal acts. And the community’s protection is a shared responsibility between the law enforcers and the people. Meaning, according to the top officials of the city’s Security Forces, every member of the community has a responsibility to do if he or she wants the people, including himself or herself, to be protected effectively.
We agree very strongly with the idea that everyone has to do his/her share in helping protect society. One simple act is by reporting to the law enforcement authorities the presence of persons not familiar in the community and has been observed to be suspicious in the things he or they may be doing.
Also, the community must be careful in conducting activities in their area that may gather a number of people around giving the terrorist or any other person with ill motives toward any one the opportunity to do his thing.
Or, if it cannot be done away with, the leaders of the community must make all the necessary safeguards to prevent perpetuation of any form of attack. After all, there is gospel truth in the saying that “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”
Yes, no one should be assuage with such boastful claim that we have the best equipped hospital and highly trained doctors around to treat victims of bombings or assassination attempts that communities would be complacent with the safety of their own members.
There really is no substitute for the communities to be observant with everything that is going around in its areas of jurisdiction and immediately advise the city’s security forces if there are people with suspicious activities being done.
After all, as it is in basketball, offense is an important element in putting up a good defense. Hence, we believe that undertaking this kind of community exercises in order to enhance the city’s defense against the revival of the NPA’s Sparrow Units and possible terrorist attacks in the city, we better be one step ahead of their moves. And doing the exercise is just the right thing to do.
Until now we could not feel the so-called massive information and education campaign of the city government of Davao on the mass vaccination program that will soon be rolled out in the city against the dreaded Corona Virus Disease. What are the vehicles or media used in the drive and what particular groups are tasked to conduct the same. Is the city delegating the task to the officials of the various barangays, or is it relying on its information unit?
We are raising these questions because we have observed that in the many barangays that we had the opportunity to visit even at this very critical times many residents are still at a loss as to the issue on the effectiveness of any of the known vaccines and the areas they will have to go to have themselves administered if they finally decide to get vaccinated.
Moreover, we noted that still many residents are not about ready to get inoculated because of fear of side effects. Other than that we also noticed that many barangay officials and functionaries are not even conversant of disseminating relevant information regarding CoViD 19 and the measures that the local government is adopting to arrest its infection.
For example one functionary comes to a house to inform the occupants of what the local government is doing and what people should do to have a particular protocol observed, then another comes also for the same purpose but gives totally different instructions. And worst. There are those who come and have some forms filled out. When asked what those forms are for, they simply say, they do not know and that they are just asked to do the errand.
It is in this sorry state of advising the people in the community about the program of government on the CoViD response that we are worried about. Therefore, it is our take that this time it would be beneficial to the city’s population and to the government response itself, if its massive information and education drive is well laid on the grounds so the people will have a way of knowing where and how they can get the right information and go to for assistance in understanding it, should they find the need.
Is it through radio, through television, through town hall meetings, through the barangays? Or would they just rely on social media which has the tendency of being easily manipulated by some interested groups? It’s time to be transparent about it.
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