Abrigo: Scanners and scarecrows

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PREENING baggage like monkey finding lice is a thing of the past for the Task Force Davao (TFD) sentinels in the three entranceways to Davao City. The city installed baggage x-ray machines and walk-through metal detectors in Lasang for the north arrival, Calinan in the west, and Sirawan for the passengers coming from the south.

Each of the machines provided by the city government is worth 1.8 million to cut and ease the waiting time at the checkpoints during the inspection; and to guarantee that drug traffickers, armed group and terrorists could not bring in their contrabands, according to TFD commander Col. Consolito Yecla.

But just before colonel Yecla shuts his frothy mouth, two members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sneaked into the city with a .45 caliber pistol locked and loaded with five live ammunitions and a fragmentation grenade. One of the two bandits is a hardcore fighter coming from the ASG’s lair in Patikul, Sulu. He leaped to Palawan and traveled by land to Panabo city then entered Davao city using a banca to sidestep Lasang checkpoint. Thanks to the PNP sherlocks who contained and captured the two.

Even with the third extension of Martial Law in Mindanao and the tight security of Davao, why are these terrorists who are both familiar with the safe passage to get in, chose this city as asylum? I prefer not to dig into a bottomless exhibition of prowess for today on why Davao is their choice; but I wanted to dissect some security hiatuses. First, the TFD must know that the terrorist as perceived will not pass through the gates having geared-up technology. Second, only peddlers of shabu and marijuana will take public utility vehicles to transport their stuff. Third, the high-valued targets, big time drug traffickers and gun runners can use private vehicles that are exempted from the scrutiny of these machines; as the doctrine of plain view always prevail in all checkpoints of the country.

We overdressed Davao when we invest these million worth of machines for a pinch. Putting-up these machines will only deter the would-be subvert, like putting up a million worth of scarecrows in the rice field; regretful though because the last time I talked with a rice farmer, he was surprised to see Chestnut Munia (maya birds) comfortably hopping in band at the scarecrow. And in many instances these birds are festive under the shadow cast by the scarecrow. No matter how expensive the frightening device is, still its purpose is to frighten only the weak and coward but encourages the robust to tryout the stability. In the end, gearing up our intelligence linkage is far more exigent to maintain a livable city than spending millions for props.



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