Mayor calls for sobriety

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CAGAYAN de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano called on the family of a 17-year-old teenager who died due to alleged "gang war" between Christians and Muslims to file charges instead of thinking revenge.

Emano also called on the relatives of the suspect to surrender and to end the long-time war of gangs in Barangay Balulang.

On Monday, Emano initiated a dialogue between the warring groups of Christian and Muslim teenagers in Barangay Balulang.


The dialogue was held after Reniel Mabaylan, a Christian student of Balulang National High School, died while a Muslim teenager and son of a high ranking police official was seriously injured when two groups engaged in a fight outside the school last week.

Emano said the city is peaceful until this war between gangs erupted.

"Our city's peace and order is threatened by gang wars among youths in the city, which is why we are really making efforts to resolve the issue," Emano said in an interview over Magnum Radio.

Mabaylan, 17, died after he was mauled by a group of Muslim teenagers who were in a rumble with another group at Villa Angela Subdivision in Barangay Balulang.

Mabaylan, a fourth year student of the said school, was only pacifying the fight, which involved his Christian friend.

Celso Mabaylan, a member of the Barangay Lupon, said his nephew was hit with a stone in the face and head, was punched and stomped by the suspects.

The victim was brought to the hospital but died two days after.

The teenager's death has earned the ire of Christians and his relatives as they vowed to take revenge.

They had the incident reported to the police station but the Muslims said they would also seek revenge.

On Friday last week, Balulang National High School was closed after students refused to attend their classes out of fear.

After the incident, a curfew was imposed while police operatives were deployed in the area, particularly at Balulang National High School, to prevent another bloody incident.

During the dialogue, Emano urged Mabaylan's family to file charges and let the court decide instead of thinking revenge.

At the same time, he asked the family and relatives of the suspects to surrender the teenagers to him to totally end the long-time gang war between the two groups.

"Nagpasalamat ako sa duha ka pamilya nga mi-kooperar usab sa atong tumong kay kuyaw kaayo kung atong pasagdan makaapekto sa kahusay ug kalinaw sa dakbayan," Emano said.

Emano was accompanied by Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) Director Gerardo Rosales and members of the City Council in the negotiation.

Balulang barangay chairperson Alfredo Carcosa said he is glad the City Government is paying attention to the problem, citing he himself has started to fear the security of the residents.

During the dialogue, the victim's family decided to file charges against the suspect while the Muslim group assured to surrender the suspect to Emano before the week ends.

The two groups also assured Emano that the incident would never happen again.

With this, the mayor said he is hoping that the problem would end.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 27, 2011.

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