RECOGNIZING the need to ensure peace and order in Bacolod City, the local government has met with the members of the business sector and local police force to discuss security concerns in the Negros Occidental capital city.
Councilor Al Victor Espino, chairman of the city council’s committee on police matters, peace and order and illegal drugs, called for a consultative conference with top officials of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) and representatives of various business groups at GT Hotel in Bacolod City Thursday, August 8.
Espino said the city government and local police force need to get inputs from the business sector as to what the former should do to make them more secure and for effective peace and order campaign in the city.
“The businesses are the ones affected, they are in their business more often than we can ever be,” he said, adding “they are the ones who can suggest to us because they know more what they need.”
The meeting came a day after two jewelry stores inside the Gaisano Grand Mall were ransacked by at least nine armed men on Wednesday night.
The councilor, though, said the conference is not in response to the robbery incident as he already planned it since last week.
The BCPO, however, is concentrating on many other things including the ongoing woes at the bus company Vallacar Transit Inc., which is also a bigger problem now, Espino said.
Law enforcement and government intervention should be the last recourse, he said, adding that crime prevention should start from the community.
“If we can stop crimes from where we do business, if we are responsive enough to immediately tell authorities, then we would help not just the businesses but also the community,” the official stressed.
During the consultative conference, BCPO head Police Colonel Henry Biñas presented the crime situation in the city particularly the lower average monthly crime volume.
Biñas said their plans include legislative proposals like amendment of the closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) ordinance; prohibition of backpacks, pointed objects and bottles during major events; and purchase of patrol cars and information and communications technology (ICT) equipment using a percentage of the revenues derived from enforcement of traffic related ordinances.
Other plans include mandatory continuing education for investigators, construction of firing range, renovation of guard house, and procurement of K9 dogs, among others.
“We asked the members of our business community to install quality CCTVs, it is one of the long term solutions to our crime problems,” he said, urging businesses to also invest in ensuring security rather than just relying on the police.
For the business sector, Romy Lopez, representing the Bankers Club in Negros Occidental, said there’s a time that police presence was really felt in different areas.
Lopez said this is an effective measure as nothing beats prevention. Though, he asked the BCPO to intensify the conduct of spot checkpoints especially among motorcycles.
“It will further give confidence to the public,” he said, asking the city to strictly implement the CCTV Ordinance.
Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) chief executive officer Frank Carbon, who was also at the conference, presented three major proposals.
These are reviewing street lights especially on critical areas in the city basing on the police’s crime map, increasing patrol cars for mobility during night time, and establishment of a command center.
Carbon said these are immediate, short-term and long-term measures, respectively.
“We are a highly urbanized city so we need to level up,” he said, adding that they are amenable to the suggestion of installing quality or high definition CCTV cameras.
“In fact, we are investing on it now. But, it is more viable in terms of usability if we have a command center that will connect our CCTVs to that of the police,” the business leader said.
Meanwhile, also present at the consultation are representatives of Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Hotel and Restaurant Association of Negros Occidental.