Editorial: Pretext-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
SECURITY has been more intense these days as the feast of St. Augustine draws near.
Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno in a radio interview on Thursday urged everyone to cooperate with the security measures deemed helpful to maintain safe, peaceful, and orderly celebration.
The people and the victims of the blast on July 26 bear the terror inflicted in our city which has been known for its safer environment compared with the other cities in the island.
Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro asked people’s comments on the security measures being employed such as what not to wear and bring during the festivities especially the crowd-drawer events. There were those who responded that the measures violate their rights but would follow the security protocols due to terror while others would insist to do what they're used to.
The authorities have patterned the security protocols in the city to what Davao City has implemented during its Kadayawan festival where hundreds of backpacks had been confiscated after people there insisted to carry backpacks. Faces must be devoid of any covering, thus wearing sunglasses and ball caps was prohibited.
The cities of Iligan and General Santos have followed suit as their festivals are fast-approaching. Iligan will be holding its Dyandi festival while GenSan will have its tuna festival.
These precautions might work for a while, but let us remember that these are stopgap measures that don’t guarantee deterrence to any terror attacks.
A terrorist could even wear police or military uniforms or other clothing resembling authority in order to blend with the crowd to sow chaos and ultimately, death.
Had the government strengthened its intelligence communities and the funds they need, these terror attacks would have greater chances of being foiled.
Had portions of the P10 billion ‘porky’ scam been used to fund the intelligence activities down to the barangays, then, this must be a better option in securing communities in the country including our city.
Had former Mayor Vicente Emano used the intelligence fund rightfully, then our city could have been the last to remain free from such horrible blast experience. During his last term, there were a few blasts that should have served as warnings. He should have started building a strong intelligence community, had security been in his priorities.
Then, invading the people’s right to bring and wear what they like wherever and whenever they want it would be unnecessary.
What is chilling here would be the checking of identifications if one could be targeted as a suspect. Profiling is an easy way to put anyone vulnerable to suspicion. The city government seems to have fallen into the trap of conditioning the minds of the people that their rights at times can be intruded in the pretext of terror for now, and perhaps, in a grander scheme in the future.
If the city of Cagayan de Oro desires to remain a safer environment without compromising the people’s rights, then, it is high time it should do something to fix its bleeding intelligence arm to secure more its constituents.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 23, 2013.