Surigao businessmen worry over rising crime; Gov. Matugas slay attemp biggest blow to peace

BY JUN TAGABUNLANG

 SURIGAO CITY — After the slay attempt on Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas, the killing of a foreigner and a major heist, businessmen in Surigao has questioned the police’s capability in the campaign against crime.
    Alarmed, they are demanding that police review its crime monitoring system in wake of these high-profile crimes.
    We have raised the alarm with local officials and police over the many violent incidents that recently happened, especially in the last 12 months, said Willy Gan, president of the Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
    In the robbery case, two gunmen armed with a machine pistol and a handgun robbed the branch of cargo forwarder LBC on Rizal Street, less than a hundred meters from a police outpost, taking close to a million pesos.     In the biggest blow to Surigao’s peace, Gov. Matugas escaped unharmed after former barangay captain Samuel Lapac Sr. fired at her after the flag ceremony at the provincial capitol. The suspect, and two of the governor’s  security aides and a guard at the Hall of Justice,  were wounded in the shooting incident, the sixth shooting since the start of August.
    A day before the attack on Matugas, Canadian Harry Joseph Alfred Doyle, 62, was shot dead by two men riding a motorcycle.
    On August 3, two gunmen riding piggyback on a motorcycle, killed salesman Arante Montenegro, 27, shooting him 16 times. A week later, a former councilor of Taganaan town was also shot.
    On August 17, a man was murdered at the city’s Boulevard and a public elementary school was robbed.
    Gan said  the business chamber during a recent meeting of the Peace and Order Council suggested operational protocols to police to help curb criminalities.
    He said, however, that police, military and local government officials, along with the business sector, had set up a “security loop” to improve coordination, communication and monitoring.
    But even as local businessmen worry over the rash in crime, Surigao del Norte deputy police director Ruben Andiso said the incidents did not indicate a breakdown of law and order. The police official also managed to dish out a joke as he assessed the local crime situation.
    Andiso said police visibility has been increased to deter criminals, noting that the spike in crimes may have been triggered by political heat tied to the coming elections;  and the approaching fiesta and charter celebrations.
    And the weather. Andiso said the current fine weather bred crimes, adding criminals hide when the weather is bad.
    When it rains, criminals cannot really go out to do what they want, he said in what could be considered as the funniest line in police jokes.

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