IT IS likely that the Oratio Imperata to end the spate of killings in Cebu will remain to be recited in masses in the Archdiocese in Cebu for a longer period of time, as the rash of killings have become prevalent, if not more savage.
Last week in broad daylight, while commuting in a taxicab from Robinsons Galeria to SM City Cebu, I noticed a group of people gathering around a body of an individual shot by a motorcycle-riding vigilante. The taxi driver simply shrugged his shoulders, saying the victim could possibly be a snatcher that caught the attention of a self-proclaimed punisher. From the tone of his voice, the driver seemed to hint that the victim deserved to die; and surrendered to the idea that the police are helpless in solving the crimes.
On Saturday, a 14-year-old girl in Danao City, Cebu was killed, having succumbed to 23 stab wounds and 12 incise wounds. Her body was dumped in a septic tank. On April 10, two people were killed inside a coffee shop along F. Ramos Street, Cebu City by unidentified killers who fled on board a motorcycle. Of course, we still can’t get over the murder of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan in Lapu-Lapu City in March.
At the start of the Imperata in August last year, at least 122 persons had been killed in shooting incidents in Cebu for a period of seven months. From June 1 to Oct. 28, 2018, it is claimed that at least 206 people were killed in Cebu.
The rapid urbanization of Cebu has brought along with it the usual ills besetting mega cities: criminality; stressed ecological services that have caused flooding, traffic jams and poor air quality; and wealth inequality as seen in the great divide between the masterfully planned Cebu Business Park of the Ayala Land and the neighboring congested and fire-prone Barangay Luz.
In the past, we seemed to know the faces of people we met in the streets, the malls and in the church; but today, the population has become diverse with professionals, workers and students coming from other provinces not just from the Visayas and Mindanao, but also Luzon. Cebu is fast becoming like Manila and Makati that have lost their sense of community and cultural heritage as a result of urbanization.
The Mega Cebu Initiative wants to rationalize the growth of Cebu both in economics and culture. Sadly, politicians who want to maintain their fiefdom have become the stumbling blocks.
As we call on God “to awaken the minds of those who don’t even care, disturb the conscience of those who author the killings, touch the hearts of those who support the murders and comfort those who mourn,” people need to use their democratic right of suffrage to choose those candidates who have a holistic approach to solving not just the killings, but the ills of urbanization that have contributed to the commission of murders.