BAGUIO CITY (June 20) — There is a need to be tourist friendly in Baguio City and some key cities in the Cordillera, the city police director explained as he clarified the absence of police security checkpoints here.
Speaking before the weekly Kapihan with CARE, or the Cordillera Association of Regional Executives here, City Director Moises M. Guevarra of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) said he does not want to over-react on the issue of terrorism.
“Napakatahimik dito,” (it is too peaceful here) Guevarra stressed, dismissing that terrorism is far from happening in this highland resort city. “There is no need for any check point to check on the arrivals,” he added.
Guevarra said a check point would discourage visitors and even annoy them.
PNP authorities, however, said there are enough firearms for the police force in the region, although these may not be visible.
“Dumaan si Presidente Gloria (Macapagal-Arroyo), nakita niyang walang baril ang ilang police kaya nag-order ito na bigyan sila. Di naman kailangan ng pulis ang dalawang armas. (The president passed by and saw some policemen carrying no firearm that she ordered that they be issued. A policeman does not need two pieces of arms.) Sr. Supt. Donato Bacquian, chief, of the Operations and Plan Division of the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera (PROCor) told reporters in the same media forum.
Guevarra said he encourages the arrival of both foreign and local tourists that the BCPO forces work double time to secure known tourist hubs in the city. He said, additional police visibility would be enforced in areas where there were reported crime incidents as snatching, hold-ups and other crimes.
Meanwhile, police authorities declared the killing of US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell in Ifugao a special case where the US embassy invited experts to do forensic and other forms of investigation that led to the surrender of the suspect.
PROCor Intelligence Detection Unit Head Wilfredo Franco said, had it not for the efforts of local police and the Ifugao local government units, Juan Dontogan did not yield He did not discount the pressure of Dontogan’s kin and tribe in his surrender.
The PNP is observing the crime prevention month in July and targets a zero crime rate, which police officials admit, is not impossible but a far-fetched objective in the context of extreme poverty and injustice. # Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS