DAVAO is a highly urbanized and progressive city in the Philippines. It is popular for its durian, pristine beaches and its land area which makes it one of the biggest cities in the world. But the pride of the city is its highly-praised peace and order advocacy.
Last month, the city shared a big portion of the news spotlight due to several events which highlighted its approach in safekeeping. Examples of these are the intriguing Sally Chua rescue operation, the peaceful Kadayawan Festival celebration, and in addressing the serious bomb threats received by the city in the past few months which were all done in a systematic and organized way.
Following these events was a new safekeeping remark received by the city when the website Numbeo.com hailed Davao as the 4th safest city in the world beating first world cities like Quebec, Munich and Seoul.
The factors considered in the study were generally the level of crime rate which was concluded low compared to other cities. Davao has a crime index of 13.27 and a safety index of 86.73. According to the website, one can walk alone with a safety level of 96.67 during daylight and 86.67 during night time in the city.
These factors highlighted how orderly and disciplined the safety and security dealings of the city are and paved way for the citizens to admire and praise Davao even more. Because of this, Davaoeneos, once again, added another thing on their bragging rights list.
Davao, despite its peace and order popularity, has already earned a lot of criticisms about the authorities’ manner of handling crimes.
The city mayor is very well known for his low level of tolerance when it comes to criminals. In fact, in the Sally Chua rescue operation, he stated that “Davao: Life is here but for criminals, your life ends here” which gained a few negative feedbacks regarding the moral principle behind it.
Aside from that, Dabawenyos are also delighted about the name the city has that they want to maintain its reputation as one of the most dangerous cities for criminals –the very reason why local citizens also support and demand a solution to prevent misconducts.
However the city’s prideful edge was broken last September 17 when improvised bomb explosions occurred in the cinemas of SM City Davao and Gaisano Mall, two of the popular malls in the city.
This shocked most of the local citizens, the police and the government as well.
Since it was stated by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte himself that MNLF was not involved with this, authorities guessed that the bombing incident was some sort of a message or threat to American businesses built in the city.
In fact, one staff of Starbucks Davao confirmed that the US embassy had already warned them of possible terrorist attacks.
This shocking incident is not only a threat to the government but also a challenge for them to provide more funds for the city’s peace and order sector. It is understandable that as a third world country, we are still not financially capable of expanding and developing our security forces in our desired way.
We are so eager to kill criminals. We are so determined to keep our city safe. We have the pride, the police-community partnership and the supportive city government. We also have the attitude but what can it do if we do not have the adequate equipment to guard our own premises?
We are not looking for a flawless security system here.
It is impossible.
Even City Director Ronald dela Rosa admitted this by saying “No security blanket is perfect. Even the New York Police Department (NYPD), one of the most equipped and highly-trained police departments, were not able to prevent the 9/11 attack.”
Imagine that even the 9/11 incident, one of the biggest and most tragic terrorist attacks was unavoidable for a first-world city like New York, what more for a third-world city like Davao?
The government should really prioritize this because this is one big element that is interconnected to the whole sake not only of the city but of the country as well.
Whatever achievements and downfall Davao will make, will reflect to the country’s capabilities.
Think about it. This could be the answer to the riddle of threats our city is currently facing. (Necta Casiple)
Sunday Essays are articles written by Ateneo de Davao University students for their advanced journalism class.