Perils a lawman must face

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Saturday, August 23, 2014


The traffic problem in Cebu City has turned from bad to worse. It used to be that only certain sections of the city were prone to traffic snarls especially during peak hours: Osmeña Blvd. in the late afternoon, Gen. Maxilom Ave. and Juana Osmeña St. on Wednesdays and during class dismissal time, the BanTal road early in the evening and the area around SM every time there was a “sale.”

Now, it seems that everywhere in the city has become a choke point. Wednesday, last week, it took me nearly half an hour to negotiate the short stretch between Osmeña Blvd., near Cebu Doctors’ Hospital, to the corner of Escario and Juana Osmeña Sts.
Two days later, on the way to the pier from Fuente Osmeña, my driver, anticipating traffic in Gen. Maxilom Ave., proceeded to V. Ranudo via Ramos only to find the road clogged by vehicles. We zigzagged from Jakosalem to Rahmann, then to Echavez and to Sikatuna before finally turning left to Imus, encountering heavy traffic all the way. The journey ended in my office at Pier 4 more than one hour after it started.

The situation could only worsen in the next months as more vehicles will be plying the same narrow streets that we had since 40 years ago. There are two obvious approaches to this traffic problem: widen our roads or limit the number of vehicles using our streets. Both choices are nearly impossible to implement.

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Unless a disaster occurs, the city government should be able to sell the South Road Properties soon and generate billions of pesos in revenues. I hope that part of that money will be spent in installing a sane traffic control system in the city and not just on doleouts such as financial grants to senior citizens and solo parents, hospitalization assistance and purchase of brand-new vehicles for distribution to barangay captains and councilmen.

***

A peace officer lost his life while another is in critical condition after a drug pusher fired at a police team that was verifying a reported pot session in Tagbilaran City. This is the second case in Bohol this year where a policeman died in the hands of drug pushers. In the first incident, the casualty was no less than the town chief of Ubay.

His suspected killers were themselves gunned down in a subsequent encounter with the authorities. A similar fate could await the lone gunman who attacked the Tagbilaran cops. He reportedly vowed that he would never allow himself to get caught alive (“dili padakop ug buhi”). The police must be raring to accommodate his wish. He’s not giving them any choice, anyway.

The Tagbilaran shooting once again reminds us of the perils that a lawman must face in order to protect us from harm. So many others have laid down their lives in the service of society. We should appreciate that.

On the other hand, it is also a reminder to policemen not to take things for granted when responding to a reported breach of the law or of the peace. Initial reports tended to show that the police team may have lowered their guard because they believed that they were raiding an all-woman drug party. As it turned out, they had one determined killer among them.

Speaking of determined killer, I wonder if the description fit the woman who went to Malacañang to demand the resignation of President Aquino. So many others have made and continue to make similar calls but have been and will most probably be left unharmed. But this woman had a gun when she entered the Palace grounds. The presidential guards, who saw the weapon, promptly subdued her.
She’s lucky they did not shoot her. That would have been most unfortunate even it could have meant one less deranged mind roaming our little patch of the universe.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2014.

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