DAVAO City faced a challenging start to the new year as a series of tragedies unfolded in quick succession.
Despite the city's familiarity with crimes, the alarming frequency, especially within the first week of the year, has raised concerns about the efficacy of the implemented security culture under the "Life is Here" campaign.
From January 1 to 6, the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) recorded numerous incidents, primarily involving killings and reckless imprudence.
The occurrences included unsolved murder cases, vehicular accidents, and disturbing holiday violations.
A 22-year-old woman was found dead with stab wounds near her house at Purok 4, Barangay Bayabas, Toril District, on January 4. Despite having a scheduled monthly check-up on the day of her discovery, the victim's family confirmed her good condition, raising questions about the circumstances of her death.
In a separate incident on January 4 at Purok 1, Barangay 2-A, two renters, Jessel Joy Casantao Indoy, 15, and Cora Oral Ansagit, 20, were fatally stabbed.
The suspect, Marcial Marzan Gonzales, 52, is in custody, admitting to the crime and citing drunkenness and provocation by the victims.
On January 5, a dead body was found at Luisdeña Compound, Barangay Lizada, Toril, with the victim's body charred in an open lot. The cause of the incident remains unknown.
Another case involved the discovery of a weeks-old decomposed body of a woman floating near Capareda Compound, Coastal Road, Barangay 76-A Bucana, on January 6. The elderly woman had been missing since December 22, 2023.
Reports of road traffic accidents and collisions involving semis-trucks and semi-tractor trucks have troubled Dabawenyos, resulting in at least one casualty in various incidents, such as those at Crossing Fausta, Davao-Bukidnon Highway, Calinan, and Carlos P. Garcia Highway, Kilometer 11 in Sasa on January 6.
DCPO, along with the relevant traffic and road units, responded to over 10 road-related incidents in the first week of this year. These cases predominantly involve charges such as homicide, serious physical injury, and property damage.
On Friday morning, January 5, 2024, a "payong-payong" lost his life in a car crash along McArthur Highway, Lower Binugao, Toril, Davao City. The passengers of the payong-payong were rushed to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) for medical attention.
Additionally, on January 4, a road crash occurred at Km. 17, Fronting Unifruti, Barangay Ilang, Bunawan District, resulting in the death of at least one individual who was a passenger on the motorcycle involved.
Station commanders affirmed that a thorough investigation is being conducted for each crime.
Police visibility and mobility have been reinforced to address security concerns, with directives for security auxiliaries to patrol regularly.
Police Major Jemuel Mamolang, Acting Police Station Commander of Eden Police Station (PS18), emphasized their commitment to maintaining security in their area.
“Sa amoang bahin, gina-instruct gyud namo ang among mga tanod na mag roving, adlaw-adlaw gyud na ug mata’g gabie. Ginapuskgan gyud namo ang atoang police visibility ug lakip na ani ang [police] mobiling (On our part, we are instructing our security auxiliaries to patrol every day and every night. We are intensifying our police visibility, including regular mobile patrols)," he said.
Despite the grim start to the new year, authorities are committed to addressing the surge in criminal activities and ensuring the safety of Davao City residents.
The unsettling events have sparked widespread discussions and reactions across social media platforms. DEF