DAGUPAN CITY -- Alarmed by the abduction of a Korean national from his home in Angeles City and his murder on the same day at Camp Crame, a city councilor called for the registration of all foreign nationals staying in Dagupan.
In a privilege speech before the City Council on February 1, Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo said Dagupan, as a local government unit, has an obligation to also protect foreign nationals staying within its jurisdiction so they can be protected from harm, harassment and intimidation.
He said the registration should be done with City Hall, so the foreigners can be monitored and protected, as well as extended assistance whenever they need it.
Tamayo said there are many foreign nationals staying in Dagupan, including students, businessmen, tourists and balikbayans, as well as those married to Filipinas who ought to enjoy not only the hospitality of the city but also its protection.
These include Americans, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, British, Thais, and Nigerians, among others. The Nigerians are studying in some universities in Dagupan.
Tamayo, a lawyer, vowed to introduce a draft ordinance and make it mandatory for all foreign nationals staying in the city for more than one month to register with City Hall through the mayor's office to establish a system where the local government can easily trace where these foreigners are and extend them protection and assistance whenever it is necessary.
The registration of foreigners with the City Government will be in close coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as with the district office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which shall be called upon to help ensure the safety of visitors, he added.
"The world is changing. The government of the United States is closing its borders, and we have a problem of kidnapping of foreigners in the Philippines. To our mind, there is a necessity that our local government should also be in one with the national government in giving protection to our defenseless foreigners," Tamayo said.
"The foreign visitors are giving so much investments in the Philippines and in Dagupan, too. They are what we can call the chicken that lay the golden eggs," Tamayo said. "That is why it is very much necessary that the city will also recognize their presence."
Registration, he said, is also a good way by which the City could monitor the movements of foreign nationals and if they are linked with terrorism or with lawless elements, they can be easily traced by the local authorities and nip in the bud their sinister plot against the people.
Dagupan, he said, is a premier city and a peaceful place to stay and cannot afford to host terrorists and troublemakers from the ranks of foreigners, thus the need for these foreign nationals to register with the city if their stay will be more than one month.
"What we are thinking is the registration of foreigners with the city through the mayor's office will be in close coordination with the PNP and NBI that will check their documents and find out how long they would be staying in the city," he added.
Citing the grisly murder of Korean Jee Ick-Joo from the hands of his abductors, Tamayo said if the abduction happened in Angeles City, which is outside of Manila, this can also happen in Dagupan.
So before the incident could happen, the city officials must put in place a mechanism to protect foreigners staying in the city, Tamayo added. (PNA)