Editorial: Violence and the barangay elections-A A +A
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) a few days ago said that 96 barangay officials, including 47 barangay chairpersons, have been killed since January.
Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca said this is higher than the 2010 barangay elections where 12 barangay captains and 10 barangay kagawads were killed.
It becomes worse because it’s not even the official campaign period yet.
Of the 97 violent incidents nationwide, only 24 of them were found to be election-related violence, Padaca said.
The deaths of these barangay officials give a glimpse on the dangers local officials face, especially because those in this smallest unit of governance are the ones deeply involved with their people.
Some are deeply involved in a bad way, like being involved in vices and illegal collections; others are resented for insisting on the right way. Either or, they are there and become the subjects of resentment, grudge, hatred, and of course, to many, respect.
The deaths of these barangay officials underline the fact that there has not been any success in the control of loose firearms. More than that, we really cannot do anything. Anyone can go around stalking and killing someone for any reason. The barangay officials’ role just gives the criminally-inclined a lot of reasons.
Davao City is not immune to this kind of violence.
Just last Sunday, barangay Cadalian chairman Alex Iyog Angco, 56, was shot dead early in the morning while on his way to tend to his chickens. His killers were even armed with an AK-47 rifle, and not your regular improvised firearms or .45 caliber pistol.
Police are saying these men were members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Would arming barangay officials be the solution? Definitely not. As often said, a person intends to kill someone will always find the occasion when the subject is at his most vulnerable.
The best protection will always be the community, and it’s not about arming the community, but encouraging the community to look out for each other. But of course, that is the ideal. In this world where everyone is busy with his own undertaking, only the village gossip may have his or her eyes on everyone.
Still, there is this ideal of a community that keeps track of its people, not in a bad way, but in a way where the intent is to nurture. We can start by being involved; which will also mean taking full part in choosing our leaders who will truly work for us and in the process encourage us to do our roles as community members.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 03, 2013.