Editorial: Social ills abound

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Monday, February 24, 2014


THE raid on an alleged shabu tiangge in Barangay Ilang in Tibungco district last Friday where seven suspects were killed and 35 arrested was met with disbelief by some.

That there is a shabu tiangge in Davao City, where many people believe law and order are strictly in place, just shows that amid all the pride we hold for our beloved city, it is still a city that is fast growing and will never be immune from the ills that beset the society where more and more people are moving in, bringing with them their own more and beliefs and vices.

Since the twin bombings in 2003 at the Davao International Airport and then a week later at the Sasa Port, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte has repeatedly warned that Davao City will always remain as a prime target for terrorists. This is in recognition of the key role the city plays in Mindanao economy, the continued interest of investors and normal people living outside the city, and even maybe just to prove that the mayor’s peace and security programs aren’t impenetrable as they are perceived to be. Davao City is just too big to be ignored. More so because it seems to be doing something right despite its huge land mass, booming economy, and massive population as compared to the endless woes emanating from other major cities and towns in the country.

This same land mass, economy, and population are just as enticing to the criminals, drug dealers among them.

The market is there, the landscape is there; the temptation will always be there.

The mountains are so vast, a marijuana plantation can easily be hidden. The border areas are so diverse, anyone can easily slip in shabu or even build a shabu factory. The inner city settlements are so congested, anyone can run illegal operations undetected.

We’ve seen the images of where the shabu tiangge was: in a village on stilts connected only by planks of wood, where a stranger can easily be detected by everyone else. It’s definitely not a place a person who does not live there will explore. That makes the place even more enticing to the criminally-inclined. There are several other places with similar layout – beside the sea where anything can be slipped in, very congested such that locating one single shack or person by an outside will be difficult, but also allows easy detection of persons unknown to the residents.

Mix in the social ills of poverty, lack of opportunities, and resulting indolence, and we get the perfect environment for drug trade. All it takes now is a supplier. The village in Barangay Ilang, apparently found a supplier and so it became a thriving business there. There are other places, places where the regular peace-loving folk wouldn’t dare enter, but which we hope will not be allowed to breed the menace that is drug addiction and the illegal drugs trade. We know the scourge this can do to a community when left unchecked.

In the meantime, let’s find ways to ensure that whatever economic gains we are getting from the boom, will trickle down to the greater majority. Never mind those who are already criminally-inclined and will most likely not jump onto an opportunity to improve their lives through decent entrepreneurial means, let the law enforcers take care of them. What we should keep a keen eye out for are the young ones who may fall in with the wrong crowd even before they could be given a chance to make a difference in their lives and in their communities. The first step being to recognize that such ills exist and must be addressed. Let us not be blinded by the relative peace we are enjoying and the general tendency of many Dabawenyos to abide by the law.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 24, 2014.

Opinion

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