WE CAN understand Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte when he pushed for an ordinance to penalize those who leave items that cause alarm and bring in the bomb squad and the K-9 units to check. These operations cost money, from mobilization to gasoline. The unmindful or forgetful should pay up for this.
But when the "ordinance prohibiting and penalizing the act of leaving unattended bag in a public place" was passed, the purpose has been defeated, the practicality of the vice mayor is superseded by the enthusiasm of the councilors, except one, to do his bidding.
The law that was approved on third reading last Tuesday has two prohibited acts: First covers any person who carries and lays down an unattended bag in a public place and walks away even without causing alarm or panic. The second penalizes any person who carries and lays down unattended bag in a public place and walks away and such act causes alarm and panic.
That's actually what the lone voice of Davao City Councilor Maria Belen Acosta was raising.
Yes, the act of leaving something such that you inconvenience and cause fear on others should be meted at least some reprimand and expense, but making it illegal to be forgetful defies human logic.
Who will stand to be punished by this ordinance, if indeed this ordinance is implemented? The young children who still need to learn mindfulness and who can easily be distracted by play; and the elderly who tend to forget things.
For what are they being punished? For forgetting. There is no longer any requirement in the law that the act should cause alarm and inconvenience, the law that has been passed says the mere fact that you left your bag or items is already punishable.
Now, what will happen if terrorists now use trash bins and cars and tricycles and motorcycles? Will there be a law disallowing unattended trash bins, cars, tricycles, and motorcycles?
We are lucky, indeed that we have a council that is united led by a vice mayor who only has the good of the city at heart. But, this should not deprive us of a thinking council who will be mindful that common sense is not made to suffer in their enthusiasm to speak as one.
We hope that City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will look into this and that the City Legal Office will check the ordinance's infirmity.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 13, 2017.
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